Thursday, January 31, 2019

Mask Slippages Dept.

     We’ve all heard about it already. There’s no need to repeat it. Everyone knows the Left’s response to anything it labels a “crisis” is “Government must act right now!!” It’s just that the “crises” have been getting really...entertaining:

     It might be tempting, then, to dismiss the recent spate of media-biz layoffs as unfortunate but otherwise not concerning. Two hundred workers, including dozens of journalists, were given the slip last week at BuzzFeed. About 800 people are losing their jobs in the media division of Verizon, the telephone company that owns Yahoo, HuffPost, TechCrunch and many other “content brands.” And Gannett, the once-mighty newspaper empire that owns USA Today and hundreds of smaller outlets — from The Bergen County Record to The Zanesville Times Recorder — is letting go of 400.

     But it would be a mistake to regard these cuts as the ordinary chop of a long-roiling digital media sea. Instead, they are a devastation....

     Coming in a time of economic prosperity, at world-historical levels of interest in the news, last week’s cuts tell a story of impending slow-motion doom — and a democratic emergency in the making, with no end in sight.

     Yes, Gentle Reader: you read that right. New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo is unsubtly suggesting that the layoffs at Buzzfeed et alii call for government intervention. He never says it outright, but the theme underlies every word of this incredible piece. It’s a “democratic emergency!”

     Does Manjoo fear that his own pink-slipping is nearing? He wouldn’t be alone in that. The left-wing media have lost so much credibility in 2019 alone that it’s questionable what fraction of its bastions will survive to the end of the year. The Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnibenevolent State must save them! It’s Washington’s Constitutional duty! The damage to the Leftist media constitute a “democratic emergency,” after all.

     Can you say schadenfreude, Gentle Reader?


     If you’re familiar with ancient history – in this case, the far-off year of 1971 – you may remember the “Lockheed bailout” and the Sturm und Drang over it in Congress. It was an early, pattern-setting case of “too big to fail.” The Nixon Administration was behind it. Pro-bailout forces mobilized in various ways to pressure Congress to pass the $250 million – that’s right; million, not “billion” — loan guarantee that would keep Lockheed afloat. The measure did pass, but it required that Vice President Spiro Agnew cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

     What’s significant about that bailout is that the Democrats were against it. Lockheed, you see, was a defense contractor, and therefore evil. We’ll have no loan guarantees to naughty makers of weapons that fly around the world killing our little brown brothers! Of course they rationalized their opposition on grounds of “economy:” a notion Democrats only address when the subject is national defense.

     The case for the Lockheed bailout was weak. It would have been barely plausible to argue that America’s largest defense contractor was a vital national asset whose failure would endanger our military preparedness. That argument was barely heard in Congress. No, the pro-bailout forces harped on “jobs:” the 60,000 employees of Lockheed who might be out of work for a while if the company were to fold. Lockheed employees took a hand in the maneuvering:

     Citing the roughly 60,000 American jobs that would be destroyed, Lockheed mobilized machinists and scientists to buy newspaper ads. Displaced aerospace workers "launched letter-writing campaigns, made speeches to P.T.A.'s and even organized a boycott of Wisconsin cheese and beer" to show Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire (a staunch opponent of the Lockheed bailout) that they meant business.

     That was the theme that won enough grudging Democrat support to pass the loan guarantee.

     Keep all that in mind as you finish reading this screed.


     A corporatized industry is vulnerable to greater economic dislocations than one whose prosperity is divided among a large number of small businesses. The media have become heavily corporatized; follow the links in Linda Fox’s piece on the subject for details. Worse, today’s media tend to speak in coordination, as if there were a single source behind their “journalism.” Thus, when one outlet publishes something dubious, the story tends to propagate through its colleagues as well. Thus they all lose credibility together.

     Loss of credibility is devastating to a “news” outlet. People don’t read entertainment tabloids to stay informed; they read them to pass the time, and perhaps have a laugh or two, while waiting in supermarket checkout lines. A media outlet that represents itself as a “news” outlet has a different job. If it underperforms at that job, it will lose readership, and therefore revenue.

     That’s business in a free market, Gentle Reader. The customer is king. Do your job adequately or better by the customer’s standards, and he’ll keep you afloat. Do it inadequately, and he’ll turn away as you sink. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. Interventions that prevent it from working that way subsidize inefficiency and incompetence.

     The ever-more-consolidated “news” media have been doing an ever-less-praiseworthy job. The whole of the traditional reporting industry is in serious trouble. Its troubles were brought about by its own sins, most notably its eschewal of reporting in favor of advocacy and propaganda. Farhad Manjoo and the editors of the New York Times view that as a “democratic emergency.” I see it as a cleansing.

     And I shall laugh heartily as it rolls on toward its terminus.

1 comment:

John C. said...

When the Fourth Estate became the lapdog Fifth Column of the left all respect for the profession disappeared. If companies like CNN and MSNBC can't deliver plain untainted news a few hours a day and if they find it impossible to give viewers the respect of presenting both sides on their non-news bloviation fests they deserve to be ignored. The same goes for the NYT and WaPo et al when they can't keep the editorials off the front page and seem to confuse a constant leftist opinion with real actual opinion in stead of the boilerplate propaganda that it is.

I get inundated with leftist bilge all day in TV shows, commercials etc. so now I watch basically zero news programs preferring to glean my news from the internet. I watch TV for the latest non-leftist opinion so I watch Tucker Carlson and Liz Wheeler on "The Tipping Point" at One America News. only