Back in December at the Federal Trade Commission’s workshop on the future of journalism, much was made about the verbal sparring between Arianna Huffington and Rupert Murdoch. It made for good theatre, but an important thread was lost in the blogger-versus-publisher storyline: Murdoch’s attack on the notion of a role for government in the future of media and journalism.
But last week, Patrick Maines of the Media Institute took to the Huffington Post to rehash and support many of Murdoch’s arguments, which are riddled with inconsistencies, contradictions and misrepresentations. Apparent believers in the theory that if you say something enough times it’ll come true, these Big Media boosters are attempting to rewrite history to fit their free market narrative, turning a blind eye to the profound impact government policy has had on the corporate media they defend.
For all their points of agreement, Murdoch and Maines actually start from very different places. Whereas Murdoch held up journalists as heroic and defended their labor and their product as vital and worthwhile (ironic, given his cuts to newsroom staff), Maines offers his view on journalists’ stupidity and selfishness . “Despite their general lack of experience or expertise in law, commerce, finance, or technology, people with journalistic backgrounds are these days testifying before Congress and regulatory agencies, sponsoring seminars, and writing papers in a broadly coordinated effort to influence laws and regulations that govern the media,” Maines writes. Continue reading