Tuesday, January 11, 2005

#137 - Is CBS Worth Redeeming?

I simply do not have time to get into a deeper analysis of the CBS investigation, and I'm perfectly content to trust those who have torn the report limb from limb elsewhere. Cases can be made for all opinions I've read so far. CBS did take some serious collateral damage from Thornburgh's team, but still managed to neatly side-step the more basic issue of whether they displayed "political bias" in their Bush/TANG smear campaign. (Oopsie... did I just let my own bias show? Silly me!)

For my part, I really don't care about the report. Unlike many bloggers, I simply have not been holding my breath waiting to hear from some respected yahoo as to whether CBS poked itself in it's own Black Eye. The real question for me is whether CBS (or any of the "legacy" media) is worth the effort it would take to rebuild.

CBS (as well as every other long-established news organization) touts itself as a reliable, respected source for news and information deemed important to our lives. Never mind that we seem to spend copious amounts of time listening to "important" reports of celebrity trials, athlete arrests of the day, and "in depth" reports consisting of 5 minutes' worth of heavily filtered material. The fact that this pablum comes from organizations like CBS somehow makes it "respectable."

Once upon a time the news orgs held sway over the world of information. They were able to keep us well informed because we lacked the abilities, energies, or resources to learn otherwise. Dissenting voices were drowned out as they lacked the infrastructure to make themselves heard over the din of nightly newscasts.

Enter the Internet, and the instantaneous exchange of information from around the world. Not by "seasoned" professional reporters, but by human observers of all kinds in every nation. People not only "on the ground," but intimately involved with the events that shape our perceptions. We were given streaming video of images from the tsunami within hours of that event, making those images superfluous when shown later in the day on any given network. Before I ever heard a news anchor talk about relief efforts, the 'Net was abuzz with multiple ways to donate and contribute to those efforts. I didn't need another talking head in an empty suit bravely standing under a 30 foot wall of water to tell me how bad it was.

I already knew. (Do I even need to mention how quickly the blogosphere reacted to the tragedy?)

For my money (or lack thereof), CBS can go the way of the dodo. Their brains have already been sucked out through their noses. Let's just finish the embalming job and bury them in the nearest pyramid.

Who knows? In another 1,000 years or so, even CBS may be worth something.

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