Monday, April 03, 2006

Why There is No Hope for the Newspapers

Biased partisanship is the problem of the mainstream media; more, improved, even better, balanced, biased partisanship is not the answer.What's lacking in their writing is the non-partisan person without a preconceived idea of what is right and wrong -- but is a truly inquiring mind.

Instead, they give us more biased, close-minded, smug people of the familiar sort -- of the kind their organizations are dominated and infested with. And like failing businesses everywhere, they insist on selling us what they have -- instead of what we want. Their response is to go out and recruit better salesman to sell us what we don't want.

We don't want more biased, partisan information, no matter how good their deceptions and manipulations are. We don't care how much they claim they are "objective" because we can tell how biased they really are -- which further undermines their credibility.

And then when they do locate talent of this ability and quality, they promptly try to make them write just like them -- in the narrow-minded, biased, partisan way they call "objective," undermining that attempt. They just don't get it and all signs point that they never will; they will go down the way they are, and something new and fresh will supplant them.

Intelligence has the ability to respond and change -- instead of their editors demanding that the world change to suit them -- and recognize them as the next messiah -- the self-anointed ones who should do the thinking for all mankind.

It'd be appealing if they weren't such narrow-minded, petty people, who are to intelligent discourse what Helen Thomas is to beauty, truth and graciousness. But she's the best they've got -- and they wonder why there are no takers.


At April 03, 2006 10:45 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Two wrongs don't make a right:

Ten wrongs don't make it any righter.

At April 03, 2006 4:17 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The rules of the new Infomration Age is that it doesn't matter how many biased, partisan points of view you have.

The only thing that matters is whether one has an unbiased, whole view; the many fragmented, distorted, biased, partisan, does not add up to one complete picture.

Wholeness is the point of information processing; old media is about the distortion of that whole -- and why its days and usefulness are limited -- to the critical informtion user.

As a fountainhead of useless informtion, it will undoubtedly remain the same.

Information is for the user and not for the many purposes of the provider. Just like you want a physician interested in your prosperity, and not his own -- over yours.

A lot of people cannot make this distinction -- but it is the only one that matters.

At April 03, 2006 4:49 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The leading edge of humanity is not just seeking more mindless news and entertainment; they're seeking intelligence -- in whatever way it is manifested.

That's the difference. That's what the old media doesn't understand -- because they were bred in another era, for another era and purpose -- and couldn't evolve further.

At April 03, 2006 9:42 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

New trends in online traffic
Visits to sites for blogging, local info and social networks drive Web growth
By Leslie Walker

Updated: 3:09 a.m. ET April 4, 2006
WASHINGTON - While growth is slowing at most top Internet sites, it is skyrocketing at sites focused on social networking, blogging and local information.

The dramatic success of those Internet categories is apparent from a recent online-traffic analysis provided by market research firm ComScore Media Metrix, which examined visitor growth rates among the 50 top Web sites over the past year.

Top-ranked sites growing the most, ComScore's data showed, were, a personal publishing site;, where young people do virtual preening and share musical tastes; Wikipedia, an open reference site jointly edited by millions of people; and Citysearch, a network of local guides focused on cities.

The number of monthly visitors to each site rose at rates ranging from 185 percent (Citysearch) to 528 percent ( between February 2005 and February 2006. Their growth far exceeded the 4 percent increase in overall Internet visitors in the United States during that period.

The traffic analysis shows the Internet is still a space where new brands such as MySpace can suddenly break into the upper ranks, where older brands such as Citysearch can revive themselves after languishing for years, and where established outfits such as Google often wind up as beneficiaries because they buy or copy services pioneered by upstarts.

Promising participation
Google Inc., for instance, bought in 2003; the number of people posting or reading material at that site jumped to 15.6 million last month from 2.5 million a year ago.

"The growth in blogging reminds us the Internet is fulfilling its original promise about participation," said Gary Arlen, a research analyst and president of Arlen Communications Inc. "This medium empowers users in such a way that they can do what they want and be heard."

Peter Daboll, president and chief executive of ComScore Media Metrix, said one notable recent traffic trend is increased popularity of sites helping people find local information: "Things having to do with local search are really gaining momentum."

In addition to Citysearch, a network devoted to local entertainment and commerce, Daboll said, two local directories made the Web's top 50 last month, and Verizon's

Citysearch, which is owned by IAC/InterActive Corp., recently announced its first full year of profitability, thanks to its increase in ad sales. And the Kelsey Group, a Princeton, N.J., consulting firm specializing in local advertising, projects that ads relating to locally focused Internet searches will become a $6.1 billion market within five years.

Greg Sterling, an independent analyst, said local Internet services lagged behind their national counterparts for years but are finally coming on strong because they are much better today and people are more aware of their utility. "This is stuff people need and want in their everyday lives," Sterling said, "and to the extent they can find it online, they are starting to use these tools."

ComScore usually lumps together sites owned by the same firm in its Internet traffic reports, so AOL's visitors, for example, would be merged with those of other sites owned by Time Warner Inc. But The Washington Post asked ComScore to break out traffic for the Web's top 50 individual sites to get an idea of which were gaining and losing momentum.

At April 04, 2006 10:54 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

A lot of people think that emails (blogs, forums, etc.) have to be this ghastly, hastily composed, largely thoughtless throwaway of communications -- instead of realizing it could be anything one wanted it to be, including a full-blown multimedia presentation.

The newspapers are hoping letter-writing, along with the newspapers and the old trusty Remington typewriters, make a comeback so they can be relevant again -- along with buggy whips, so they can continue to have an exulted status in society as the only literate ones allowed to control publications, information and communications -- as the self-designated makers and shapers of thought in society.

The state-of-the-art subsumes everything that came before it. Letter-writing has become virtual presence -- while these newspaper people seem to be largely these people nostalgically wishing for the days of their prime, many decades ago.

It could be now -- if they could just stop living in their memories and fantasies of antiquated knowledge and live in the present moment. That's what dying and dementias are about -- these people no longer connecting with the reality of the present and presence. If they persist, it will become a self-fulfilling mental illness as well as physical dysfunction.

It's already showing in much of their writing. They're lining up for the Kool-Ade -- to make modern innovation all go away.

At April 04, 2006 8:43 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Emails can be letter-writing -- or novels, short stories, non-fiction, hallmark cards, movies, audio, everything one can imagine. Every kind of communication is possible -- including letters.

The medium allows all the genres, all the possibilities. An email, blog, forum, comment -- can be what each individual decides he wants it to be -- without the preconceived notion of what it has to be. Obviously, you have in mine what it is you think letters ought to be -- and I'm not precluding them but allowing for all the other possibilities that the old forms precluded.

Just like the salutation -- is unnecessary. If you and I were talking together, I wouldn't begin addressing you as "Dear Diana," which creates an unnecessary formality and a self-conscious separation between us. That is very characteristic of the old letter-form.

Emails perform that function of identifying who we are, dating the exchange and storing it for posterity as a default. So rather than a letter being lost more easily, they are in fact, automatically and effortlessly archived. So is everything we write.

Before there was the word processor, publishing was essentially limited to those who were either good typists or could afford typing services. Word processors lowered the bar for communications -- and email, made cost a nonfactor. Just like a lot of calls wouldn't have been made a generation ago because of the cost of making that call. Now, calling or writing anywhere in this country is not a barrier. Does that cheapen the effort?

The main thing is that there is a desire to communicate and the intention of communicating -- and all the other considerations are no excuse for not communicating. Unquestionably, some will not use it as effectively as others might -- but that is not the fault or limitation of the medium, which now may be even better than being there in person.

Admittedly, I'm sure we've all seen a lot of bad emails -- but there is no reason it has to be. Posting comments on forums like these also can be done well or badly too. Some people just use whatever media they have to abuse, harass, offend and outrage everybody else; if they're driving a car, they cause the road rage as their expression of who they are.

A lot of the mainstream media people think they have to do so in order to distinguish themselves among an offensive lot. It doesn't have to be tht way -- and that's why we can do it our way, whatever it is -- freely.

At April 05, 2006 10:34 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Citizen journalists ARE the news; the media is just the means by which the information is transmitted -- but having that power and trust, were capabilities and responsibilities they hadn't cultivated the skills to manage. It's one thing to pop off daily about how they should be ruler of the world instead of the elected -- but another thing to see anything through to the end before being distracted into the next hot topic of the day.

A lot of people in the last several decades have been promoted to positions of trust and responsibility that they are ill-suited to handle -- because leadership is not a matter of seniority but of talent and ability. Instead, we have a lot of these people who rose to the top by just putting in their time, kissing as many asses as possible (and who knows what else) -- and then expecting the next generation to do as they did also, as the only way to the top.

That is the major problem of people with fame and money but no ability and talent -- readily discernible to anyone who is not within that narrow clique and pecking order. Right now, one of the big media stories is which one of their media personalities gets to replace Dan Rather at CBS, as though that was greater than achieving the Presidency or the Papacy -- or meant anything noteworthy at all. But they like the idea of making icons of themselves, talking about their own legacy to the human race, and that Jesus was a nobody compared to them -- and write articles imploring the ACLU to pressure government into not having any false gods before them.

At April 05, 2006 10:52 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Why don't they show the real face of contemporary journalism -- Helen Thomas?

It's not a pretty picture, is it?

At April 05, 2006 10:55 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Of course they want to see themselves as Katie Couric -- rather than as they really are, and appear to everybody else.

At April 05, 2006 11:56 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

I think the major problems in contemporary life are not so much that things really are bad -- as much as it is that our understanding of them is woeful, because it is limited by those whose major function, should be the transmission of accurate and complete information -- rather than self-serving aggrandizement and the propagation of their own ignorance and limited capacity to understand -- thinking tht faking it is enough to get by anymore.

The standards are much higher -- because people are more informed, and there are less people who are gullible, deceived and manipulated. Rather than aiming for the lowest common denominator in their audience, they need to find out the highest common denominator.


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