My practical, pragmatic side and my philosophical, intellectual side always seem to be wrestling with each other. My intellectual side was losing last night as I watched Bill Moyers interview Jay Rosen and Glenn Greenwald. (Self-disclosure: I watched the program on television! On public television no less! Not on my computer! There is hope!)
I dig Jay Rosen. His NewAssignment.net project is innovative. I think he hero worships John Dewey a bit much, but for the most part I'm glad he's out there, saying his stuff, doing his thang. We need provocative thinkers..and what I like about Rosen as well...DOers. How do we make this media system work for everyone, not just people with education, with money, with good social connections? Drat...I'm beginning to sound like John Dewey!
MEDIA REFORM: HOW, WHY...AND WILL THE PUBLIC INTEREST BE SERVED?
They were talking mostly about the D.C. press last night - Rosen and Greenwald deconstructed the media coverage on Obama, notably the Daschle resignation as health and human services secretary. But then they got into press elitism - Walter Lippmann Syndrome if you will ( my phrasing, not theirs).
HOW THE INTERNET IS KILLING THE NEWSPAPER STAR...BUT NOT THEIR INFLUENCE
This is where I differ with Rosen. I don't think the press has declined that much in influence. There are a few cases where bloggers have set the agenda...but how does it get pushed into the mainstream? The mainstream media. And indeed, he talked about that when Moyers asked him about the exclusion of alternative pressheads, like Amy Goodman from Democracy Now!, from Meet the Press and all the other blah-blahers of the D.C. media corps. Just because "we" the Public, the Masses, are now able via the Internet to set up our own platforms, communicated directly with the powerbrokers, like the press -- does that mean "we" the Public, the Masses have more power? I'm not so sure.
PRAGMATISM v. INTELLECTUALISM
So here I am, my inner sides duking it out. On one hand agreeing with the good guests on Moyers - on the other hand quite skeptical. Because it's one thing to create the tool - it's quite another how, and when, and where you use it. And the conventions about how the press makes decisions on what to distribute, and what not - it's going to take a much larger flood to humble the elites.