Over at The Written Word they wrote that “Earlier this week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt was quoted on several websites and news feeds as having called the internet a “Cesspool”. Cnet reported it as “ the Internet is a “cesspool” where false information thrives…Schmidt gave the magazine publishers hope for their future. Brands, he said, are the way to rise above the cesspool, and of course he is right.”
Really? Old media is the answer?
Looking to the mainstream media brands as a model of fair and accurate reporting is like looking for a pacifist at a prizefight.
An accurate collection of facts is not truth when those facts are organized and interpreted in a way that distorts their original meaning. The hallowed journalistic principle of balance creates its own falsehoods of a higher order.
Here’s an absurd example: The fact that the stove is hot needs to be balanced with a minority vew that fire can be transcended by thought (Don’t want to insult Tony Robins, or an indigenous fire walking tribe in the South Pacific, now do we?) hence a “highly reguarded, branded” news source must say that fire may or may not be hot, if it conforms to current journalistic ethics.
But any political consultant of national order will tell you that the key operating tool of American politics (and PR in general) is to exploit the fairness doctrine to cast a set of “new truths” on the news. And it works.
So, while I deplore the abject falsehoods that spin around the web I think we need to reach for a new ethical standard that takes into account bias, philosophy and facts. Because certainly the traditions of the Brands out there are not serving us well.
I do agree that this trend does bode well for writers, but the brands of import will be new brands, micro brands, that link content to author and (perhaps) bypass the media delivery tools of old. Anonymity is the enemy of truth, and as writers isn’t anonymity what we spend out whole lives fearing?
(Am I showing my bias?…)