- This decade has been very-very-good for Big Media. Monopolization means you don't have to work hard for profits. Disney, GE, Time-Warner, Microsoft and Fox have gotten everything they could have wanted (and more) from this Administration.
- The Internet threatens to destroy Big Media's ability to create campaign narratives, which lie at the heart of its political power. You spend your life working toward the height of power, you're going to resent another medium trying to take that power from you.
- The myths, values and assumptions of 40 years are deeply ingrained in New York and Washington. Power isn't going to give up easily. It has to be seized.
- After decades of basing power on Nixon's McCarthyism, using 30-second soundbites, TV can't conceive of people sitting through a long speech and getting information on their own.
It is telling that Obama is having problems right now with under-educated, older women, people who are unlikely to use the Internet. They're the people most easily manipulated by Big Media. That's the greatest threat the Internet Thesis has right now.
When a comedian is the best reporter in the room there is something wrong with the room. It's not just Jon Stewart's interviews. His bit about the rice shortage last week was classic, getting the message of American arrogance through our resistance.
Not everyone is helping, however, which says something very interesting about this medium.
My late friend Russell Shaw wrote for the Huffington Post. He got in early. I got mad for a time because he didn't help me get in but it soon became apparent why. Now I would write there if they paid me.
The Huffpo may be the most 20th century Web site in the world. That's not a compliment. It is a cacophony of celebrity and gossip, as Hollywood-centric as ABC is Washington-centric and as CNBC is New York-centric.
They're all so proud of themselves for inserting themselves into the media narrative, for getting Obama's "bitter" soundbite out there, but theirs has become the power of the lapdog. Worse it's a pack of lapdogs, dozens of different voices and no coherence, which means the impact of what they're trying to do is diffused.
But the site is too big. It's like a crowded restaurant. No editorial choices are really being made. I don't care whether there is a sex tape of the late Jimi Hendix. I don't care about Girls Gone Wild. Why is a site seeking to be taken seriously running stories about strippers?
While the Internet as a whole can give you any views you want, a site which tries to bring too many at once has its impact muddled. This ought to be several different sites - on entertainment, on business, on sports, on politics -- and it needs structure to make it easier to navigate.
The Huffington Post, in short, has become a satire of what Big Media thinks the Internet is like. It's just part of the problem.
Why? I blame the person in charge. Arianna Huffington is known today as a heroic liberal, but she came to politics barely a decade ago as an unabashed conservative. She is a social climber, who wants to be known by all and thus have the power to control all. In this way she's as vapid as the people she likes to criticize.
Jon Stewart needs to go after her.