In chapter 10 of The Rise of the Blogosphere, there is a clear shift in the purpose of the media. Barlow writes,
“The ‘ease and familiarity’ but it was the strange things going on in a neighbor’s basement that now brought people to the news. The success of Jerry Springer’s television show was based on much the same premise that now dominated the news: find the weird in the familiar, and the viewers will come. The problem is that next time, the story has to be stranger still.”
The entire first half of this book was dedicated to writers in 18th and 19th centuries. The chapters were about how they fought for their freedoms and came together to express their ideas. There was something so heroic about those chapters. The idea was quite romantic.
In this chapter, however, there is nothing heroic or special about the press. The entire motive has changed. In the beginning, the media was an opportunity. It was a voice for people (white men) that felt that no one could hear them. They wanted a say and so they were going to fight for it.
Now everyone is just fighting for money. The goal isn’t to be heard, it’s to draw in the most views and make the largest profit. Compete with other networks to get the best ratings.
I know that time goes on, things change, but there is a really cheap feeling that comes from reading about this shift. It feels like a disservice to all the people (white men) that spent so much time trying to make the news an outlet for everyone. We just made it a mess.