We are entering a very dark and dangerous time for humanity. The rise of social media and the mediocre web (in which everyone’s voice, no matter how uninformed, is equal) can be a very positive change for good. Connecting people in far flung parts of the world allows “iReports”, leaks, government suppression, and many other issues to come to light. But at the same time, those who seek the utter demise of traditional media represent some of the most uninformed malignants who will cause great harm to our country, and to the wider world at large.
Traditional news media, like the New York Times is under constant threat from those who seek its destruction and replacement with mindless crap written in 140 characters or less. Regurgitated opinion of the collective Tweeters of the world will not create media outlets in war zones, or fund researchers to trawl through years of government records. Wikileaks alone will not displace the need for professionally, carefully presented (fair) treatment of horribly offensive abuses of the governments of the world. RSS aggregation of news media and proliferation of links online has been phenomenal in disseminating news and readers such as those available from Google (and others) have presented it well. But all of these news stories ultimately come from somewhere real, somewhere tangible, somewhere less Web 2.0 and more “real world 1.0″. Take the Times (and a few others) out of the picture and you’ll quickly notice the dearth of good quality news sources available for others to regurgitate.
This is why I have two subscriptions to the New York Times. I pay for my quality journalism, and I pay double (or many times more) what some others pay because I care that the United States paper of record remain in business. Those of us who care must band together to disrupt and undermine others who seek to destroy quality journalism and replace it with mediocre populist nonsense of the kind favored by contestants on Reality TV shows. Is this elitist? Absolutely. It is absolutely the case that most people don’t care about the minitia reported in the Times, about the investigative undercover stories, and about the analysis that goes into them. Most care more about what some famous moron said today or which YouTube video is hot. And that’s ok. Let them eat cake, and let them enjoy it too. But don’t take away quality news from those of us who are interested in knowing what’s really going on in the world.