From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?
From: Brett Barndt Sent: Thursday, December 03, 2009 11:09 PM To: newsmediaworkshop Subject: Comments on FTC this week's workshops on news media In general, I applaud your coverage of business issues on these panels, the most astute being Mr. Marshall's about failures of corporate cultures to adapt to change caused by leadership beliefs, organizational structure and work-flow practices. As I work in the field of corporate change, turn-around and new product innovation with media companies, I see these impediments first hand everyday. We can also add Wall Street performance pressures which dictate a narrow range of behaviors for executives. Professor Clayton Christensen at HBS can also testify about this observed behavioral phenomenon throughout US business in every sector through his compelling and important research work, with which your agency should be intimately familiar. He would be a good one for you to invite to testify re: news media, but also every other failing intransigent sector of our economy from Autos, to Energy, Petrochemicals, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Agribusiness, and Banking. I will copy him here. My number one comment is that the panelists must be expanded to represent a broader range of views. The panels over represented media business people, and university professors from within the same closed professional community, or tenured positions at departments of universities that accept money gifts from wealthy donors who are usually themselves associated with corporations in industry, or legacy fortunes made in these industries. There was one consumer advocacy group that I recall from the first day. Even though you attempted to represent independent media, your included journalists from NFP or alternative news outlets who are also career insiders in what has become a very perverse self-congratulatory and smug business. Only Arianna Huffington cited the complete absolute and total collective failure of this for profit industry to expose the intelligence fraud that took this country into the Iraq War, or the uncritical cheerleading of the financial bubble. I personally am most alarmed by the use of FCC licenses for scapegoating, disinformation and manipulation. Latino activist groups on panels would have made this danger very clear with their recent challenges re: Lou Dobbs. I do not agree that small under-funded minority groups should have to fight businessmen themselves to protect themselves from scapegoating and mounting hate crimes and violence promulgated from their own property - publicly owned FCC licensed airwaves. I consider that to be your job, your colleagues at the FCC, Federal Prosecutors everywhere broadcasters are in business, and the Supreme Court. I won't mention Congress, because I consider them to be good for nothing under current campaign finance regimes. There are many other outlets of journalists who do not pretend to be members of this club, and would not call out "hellos" from the dais to old friends in the audience in self-congratulatory tones. You had no one represented from those groups on your two days of panels. Considering only Mr. Monroe's quite correct observations that 50% of this country will be minorities in a few decades, I am shocked that so many white men in suits with economics or law degrees from the very same universities that created our current economic problems are the ones you invite to comment on public policy for that future. You as public servants at the FTC need to be more concerned about your tacit approval or even outright complicity by ignoring this blatant and obvious "market failure" in your proceedings. You had several panelists who boldly denied that there is market failure for the transcripts, public record, and amplification in press around the world. But, you had few panelists who would sustain Liebowitz's basic assertion that market failure may indeed be a factor in news for citizens today. I am sure you can find those people. I would include Native Americans when you get around to it! While I agree with Mr Picard or whoever it was who said there may be 800,000 fewer news stories this year as a result of cost cuts by the media businesses, there was nobody on your panels to attest to the millions of news stories representing the needs and interests of citizens all over this country that have NEVER made it into print or the air through this for profit media model. ProPublica may claim their exposure of "fracking" is a big success. But, this "fracking" and other devastation to water aquifers have been going on for years prior to ProPublica's arrival on the scene, mostly affecting poor whites in rural areas. They weren't on your panels either. They really aren't hot targets for very many advertisers (this I know first hand). I copy my bcc: list always! -- “You’re entitled to your own opinions. You’re not entitled to your own facts,” Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan "The time has come when silence is betrayal." Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King "To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together." Zbigniew Brzezinski "The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives" HarperCollins 1997 "We have 50 percent of the world's wealth but only 6.3 percent of its population. In this situation, our real job in the coming period...is to maintain this position of disparity. To do so, we have to dispense with all sentimentality...we should cease thinking about human rights, the raising of living standards and democratisation." George Kennan, US strategic planner, 1948 "Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire." Zbigniew Brzezinski, Nouvel Observateur, January 15-21, 1998 (French edition, not American edition which published an abridged version of the interview). "It is hard not to tell a lie when you don't know what the truth is." Peter Esterhazy "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead