Saturday, August 20, 2005

Bill Keller Ignores Proof of Market In His Defense of MSM

Sounds like the MSM and in particular the Editor of the Old Grey Lady, are getting a little sensitive to the rightful critiques that they are receiving. Per Editor & Publisher:

Bill Keller

Bill Keller Editor of the NYT, writes a letter to himself that will run in tomorrow's paper. The reported focus of the letter is as follows:

Keller in protesting the review of several recent books on the media. That review, by conservative legal scholar Richard A. Posner, appeared on July 31. Keller calls the Posner essay “mostly a regurgitation, as tendentious and cynical as the worst of the books he consumed.”

Here is a link to the essay that appeared in the NYT by Posner:


Here is the basic jest of the Posner essay that focused on the MSM Media & Blogs.

- The dramatic drop in newspaper subscriptions (52.6% of all adults in 1990 to 37.5% in 2000) and the potential fatal future this is forecasting for MSM newspapers.

( can't see how anyone who understands even the most basic business principles could not understand he is absolutely correct)

- The MSM belief that Fox, cable in general with inclusion of a right of center views and content, radio, and blogs are bad for media and have taken the MSM dominance away and that has somehow deteriorated the quality.

( I can definitely see and hear that sentiment from the MSM - I don't agree obviously but I see this sentiment coming from the MSM every day and loud & clear)

- Posner states the left leaning media types like most MSM newspapers understand their readers are left of center and feed them a product that is left of center with not much right of center content to hold their business and their advertising market. Right of center media does the same thing for the same reasons.
( without a doubt I'd say this is true as do most people as polling proves. The new media that includes and in some cases promotes the right of center views came along to fill a void and it has indeed filled that void with resounding success. The left leaning MSM has moved even more to the left for the reasons Posner outlined, essentially giving up on the right of center customers. The light right of center content as well as little content with no political bias did not meet the right of center readers need and simply made the left of center readers mad. The MSM cut their losses and moved a few notches further left)

- Bottom line is that newspapers and other media are "for profit" entities and the bottom line is what ultimately matters the most. As Posner put it "Being profit-driven, the media respond to the actual demands of their audience rather than to the idealized ''thirst for knowledge'' demand posited by public intellectuals and deans of journalism schools. They serve up what the consumer wants, and the more intense the competitive pressure, the better they do it. We see this in the media's coverage of political campaigns. Relatively little attention is paid to issues. Fundamental questions, like the actual difference in policies that might result if one candidate rather than the other won, get little play. The focus instead is on who's ahead, viewed as a function of campaign tactics, which are meticulously reported...........

(I completely agree that his assessment if correct and very clearly evident in review of the product. The romantic belief by the MSM that they are balanced and hold no particular agenda except reporting the facts and truth for the publics well being is in fact a romantic illusion)

In what can only be described as "eerie" and "weird", Bill Keller claims that the MSM is not biased and defends them as non-partisan:

“Then he swallows almost uncritically the conventional hogwash of partisan critics on both sides: that '’the media’ (as accused from the right) work in tireless pursuit of a liberal agenda, and that they have (as accused from the left) become docile house pets of the Bush administration because they fear offending the powers that be.

“Finally, to explain the workings of this undifferentiated ‘media,’ simultaneously liberal and supine, he applies his trademark theory of market determinism. Whether conspiratorially or instinctively (Posner is unclear on this), the media have changed course in response to economic threats. The liberal news organizations, he says, have become even more liberal in order to protect their market share — to secure their base — in times of mounting competition from blogs and conservative cable upstarts. At the same time they have grown more timid for fear of offending the '’social consensus, however dumb or even vicious the consensus" .......................

Bill Keller has to be a smart man, he would not be the Executive Editor of the NYT if he was not. So how could he believe his own statement? Perhaps he does not believe it and it is simply instinctive defense as the bias in the MSM continues to be exposed and the onion is peeled by the new media. If he really does not believe the fact that his paper and the MSM in most cases is liberally biased, then he should look at the media markets and where they are growing and where they are receding. As in all matters, that is where almost always the bias and agenda can not hold up in the face of facts.

Cable, radio, and blogs are growing at a tremendous rate. Network TV and newspapers are falling fast and hard. The law of economics would not allow the new media to grow so fast and so quick if the product that the MSM was offering was balanced and did not possesses an extreme liberal bias. If right of center and moderate consumers were seeing balance from the MSM, they would not have turned their backs on the MSM and moved dramatically to the new media. Although over used, the statement follow the money or look where the money is going, applies to answering the questions of "is the MSM biased"? The answer is resoundingly yes backed up and proven by financial and market growth proof that even Keller's most liberal agenda driven columnist Paul Krugman could not successfully spin sideways into one of his agenda driven argument.....................

Stay tune the MSM is starting to act really weird and the onion is loosing lots of layers........................