One of the most striking things I remember from 40 years ago, while part of the rising conservative tide of the 1960s, was the continual victimhood and paranoia with which people greeted even good news.
Now I see the same thing on the left, as at DailyKos.Com. This is neither a bad thing nor a good thing (no matter how you felt when you clicked over here because of the headline). It is merely a common thing.
Let’s take these two stories, both posted on the main page today, one right after the other:
- Signed, Sealed and Delivered — Rupert Murdoch has taken over Dow Jones and is going to use his media empire to destroy all liberals. Be afraid, he’s very evil.
- 2008: Another Democratic Wave Year? — Democrats are heavily favored over Republicans in the 2008 Congressional elections, and we know we’re winning the White House.
Notice the disconnect? It’s true these stories came from different writers — the former from Meteor Blades, the latter from Kos (above) himself. But I could do the same exercise with many other stories, and I could do the same thing with diary entries.
Despite the rising tide of evidence people agree with them on the issues, Democrats insist on hyping anything that might possibly look bad.
And the Murdoch news is not bad:
The Wall Street Journal is continuing to fall in terms of readers, advertising and revenues. Just like every other newspaper. Its attempt to break out of the box and become a major online news source failed.
- The Wall Street Journal has wedded itself to an online model which puts most of its copy behind a firewall, out of sight of the Internet.
- Rupert Murdoch has never, ever "turned around" a failing news organization. In some cases, as with the Times of London, he essentially left it alone. In other cases, he ran it into the ground.
Hey, Kossacks. Fox ratings are down. People don’t believe Murdoch’s schtick any more. They’re on to him, in all his forms.
This deal is actually an enormous opportunity for news organizations to do more business news, both in-depth coverage as well as number-crunching. Business readers don’t like their news slanted, even though they may be conservatives, because a political slant costs them money. Thus any move by Murdoch to neuter the news pages is going to hurt his bottom line.
This deal will also force CNBC to do more of its own leg work, as Murdoch is going to pull his content away from the GE-owned network in order to launch his own competing cable business network this fall. If that network is as "fair and balanced" as FoxNews, it will hurt the Journal, damaging its credibility.
So there is opportunity there, and there will be new jobs opening up, because people are on to Murdoch’s nunskullerery and won’t take too kindly to his screwing around with facts when money is on the line. The most likely outcome is that Murdoch, in fact, will try to raise profits by cutting news staff — a certain recipe for long-term disaster.
Beyond all this, we need to go back to the question of how people make their political decisions. If people were basing their political thinking on what they see on the TV, or what they read in the newspapers, they would be just as pro-Bush today as they were in 2003, because those outlets have not changed.
Yet people have definitely, and I would assert permanently, changed their minds on a whole host of issues. It remains for Democrats to decide only whether they wish to reel these majorities in quickly (with Obama or Edwards) or slowly (with Hillary Clinton, who speaks from the left and governs from the right). This is a choice Democrats will make over the next several months.
Whinging about media conspiracies is simply a waste of time. But it’s what people do at a Time of Crisis.