Thursday, June 19, 2008

WHAT IS THE POINT OF HAVING A POINT IF THERE IS NO POINT

(Editor's note - brought to you at 4 am because Buster and Keaton decided daddy had no right to be alseep)

What is the point of having a point if there is no point? An odd question, but this is how I feel about the press and commentators. Maybe the press has always been worthless and I just never noticed. Or maybe, the press has become so self absorbed with its view of the world, and in the process covering nothing, that it no longer has a point.

Back about 1971 or 1972 a teenage girl by the name of Karen Kimberly fought Newsday tooth and nail to be its first papergirl. I remember the battle. We had been friends for a long time. She won her battle and it was like a new world was discovered by teenage girls. People read papers back then - they mattered. Another friend of mine’s mother would cautiously look out her window every afternoon waiting for me to pass as I delivered Newsday to all of her neighbors, but not her. Newsday was a liberal paper, the Press was the conservative paper. She was not allowed to read Newsday. She would come out and ask if I had an extra copy or mom’s copy she could read until my return trip home. News mattered and opinion and spin of the news matter, back in the day.

So what has changed? Some people blame the internet and bloggers. Being all it takes to be a blogger is to set up a google account, I doubt the blogosphere has really made that big of a difference. We are pretty good about breaking some local stories and organizing local, national, and international news into a summary, but in reality we fail when it comes to being a major influence. Yes a few people have managed to turn a profit as bloggers, but only a few. And those few, oddly enough, are really no better than the now failed general news media.

News and opinion whether in the mainstream press or blogosphere has become stale - it is like a drug which no longer gives us a high because our bodies have become acclimated to the effects of the drug. We keep on going back to it in hopes for another high, but never seem to accomplish that sense of satisfaction which we use to get when we first took that first toke.

Again I ask, what is the point of having a point if there is no point? It is like we have become wandering souls in search of a purpose in an ink well long gone dry. We are thirsty for something, anything which will make us feel satisfied again. Perhaps it is time we look inward for the source of that emptiness and stop looking to the press or blogosphere for our fix. We have become lazy and complacent. Could you imagine a teenage girl today fighting for the right to deliver a newspaper or a middle aged women sneaking around behind her husband’s back to be able to read a newspaper.

I am not saying we should not read the print media or blogosphere. All I am saying is, What is the point of having a point if there is no point? Until we can answer this question, we will continue to search for that next fix which will never come. It is time we become less self absorbed and actually open our eyes to our surroundings. We may find our souls desperately trying to get back into our bodies in hopes they will again have meaning. Maybe then, another Karen Kimberly will come along and fight the fight to be the first girl paper carrier, or another Mrs. Griffin will step out her door and ask to sneak a peek at the afternoon’s news.

2 comments:

Mas Triste said...

BW,

We (you, me and other individual bloggers) have accomplished nothing. Collectively, bloggers have had a tremendous impact on media and other forms of information communication.

Bloggers had a huge hand in the last election, good or bad, and they toppled one of the cornerstones of main stream media (CBS-Rathergate), from which they have never recovered.

Our "junior journalist" operations of "cut and paste" specialists are putting heat on the media; heat that they frankly have never experienced before.

The has never really been a check and balance on the fourth ranch of governemnt, but there is now.

Traditional media is not dialouge and that is what people want.
Queries and clicks drive news programs today. The impact is huge and irreversible.

K

BobbyWC said...

K,

I agree with a lot of what you say - but some may be debatable - I think talk radio did more to take down Dan Rather and CBS than the bloggers - we were more like parrots pushing the cart and repeating what talk radio already said.

Among the people with whom I hang, none read the blogs or even read the news on the internet (my private life is very non-political or news oriented - it is a balance thing) I am not sure we just do not read what we read because it feeds what we already believe - so it really does not influence. It is like what came first - the chicken or the egg.

Yes the blogosphere has changed how information is disseminated - even locally some of us have broken stories a lot faster than Herald - last election for example - but in terms of total readership when compared to the local population - we are not really being heard.

You seemed to have focused on one sentence.

"but in reality we fail when it comes to being a major influence." I will hold by this - oil is a big issue right now- talk radio is behind the oil companies -the oil companies are winning along with the speculators.

The voices of the people, even on the left wing blogs which make money and get quoted on CNN or Fox, are not being heard - it is like they are standing alone in a forrest yelling for help - the trees are not answering back. Those with the power to make a difference do not even recognize the existence of the people.

The secondary part of my point was - with the blogosphere we are at a point no one is listening anymore - in a real sense - yes locally people who read the local blogs may say "good point" or whatever - but the fix is no longer there. Nationally, even the major blogs, have become passe-the novelty has run out.

Bloggers in many ways have become mainstream and are now subject to challenge - people who read blogs know they are opinion pieces hidding as news - they do not want it -

This is where I believe the mainstream media can now challenge the blogosphere and win - but they will not. Some small time editor will and things will begin to change

Everything is a dialectic - the norm was the old newsmedia - talk radio and the blogosphere challenged the norm - it became the new as the two meshed - but now the new, which may have been innovative a year or two ago, is the norm - and the norm is always subject to challenge.

That challenge will come from a news executive who realizes how to feed the soul - because really - right now - how is the blogosphere leading anything?

Can a million new bloggers get the ignorant to believe Obama is not a Muslim? No - the seed of ignorance was there long before talk radio or the blogosphere - ignorant people would have used his color and name to assume the worse - even without talk radio or the blogosphere -

But, a smart news executive who understands the soul of the people could turn a news network around over night and convince millions of people about the dangers of the distractions.

This is coming and talk radio will die as we know it and the blogosphere will go by the wayside, until a new challenge to the new norm comes along