Monday, September 27, 2004

Empire of the Senseless 

Billmon, who I've always liked, is completely right. Atrios has become boring and predictable -- the Instapundit of the moderate left, linking without meaningful commentary. The original point of weblogs was for geeks to tell other geeks what interesting sites they'd been to lately. When it became political, it was simply a vast proliferation of editorialists covering a broader spectrum of political views than advertiser-supported middle-of-the-road newspapers could afford to. Now, it is simply pseudo-liberal Democratic Party Line-Towers against pseudo-Conservative RNC-sponsored crypto-fascists. When you look at who gets the advertising and the hits, it's the same range of political diversity as could be found on the New York Times op-ed page on a good day.

During the first half of the nineteenth century, according to [James] Curran, a radical, working-class press thrived in England, breaking circulation records. At the same time, efforts by the government to control the press--through libel laws and press taxes--were largely ineffective. Rather than being constrained by government action, the British working-class press was undermined by the changing economics of the newspaper business whereby the less politically inclined middle-class papers turned the advertisers, instead of readers, as a central source of revenue. The resulting impact suggests the significant, albiet often unintended, power of advertising to shape the content of media systems.
-David Croteau & William Hoynes, Media/Society

I promise -- there will be very little blogging about blogs from now on.

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