The rise of new media

Finebaum draws an interesting line between the Imus fiasco, the Saban “coonass” controversy and the growing political correctness in our nation in his Tuesday column.

“Will anyone want to say anything even remotely interesting/controversial again for fear of losing their job?” Finebaum asks.

That is a good question. And one of the reasons major media outlets (over-the-air networks), traditional newspapers and regular over-the-air radio will continue to decline. Each medium has lost its way in bowing to every special interest group around. Thought police are around every corner, and the banality of public discourse grows.

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But there is a bright spot in all this, contrary to what Finebaum thinks: “The point here is that even with as much sound and fury displayed over the last few weeks, little will change for the good — long term, that is — as a result of the Imus firestorm.”

What is the good which could arise from this?

The growing use of alternative media outlets.

Blogs, internet sites like the DrudgeReport, weekly newspapers, satellite radio and resources like YouTube give Americans greater choice in entertainment and news.

There are some negatives to this, because the overall culture loses its shared media linkages. Gone are the times when most of the country turned to Cronkite or Brinkley or Brokaw or Rather for the daily news.

The loss of mass media hurts the nation; however, the benefits should greatly outweigh the negatives.

Finebaum points out in his column that ordinary folks often fear to say what they are thinking: “After a column here the other day lashing out at the hypocrisy of the Imus story, scores of people wrote me in agreement, but often added: ‘You said what I wanted to say. I just didn’t have the nerve’.”

Like the printing press, Blogs provide the opportunity for regular people to find information, which reflect their own tastes and ideas. The public has a real opportunity to vote with their feet in this selection process—they can leave the banal mass market and dive into the diverse, zestful market of new media.

As an aside, new media matters to people. I never dreamed when I started a fireshulanow blog that it would be important to so many Alabama fans. But the public craves information and will go wherever it can to fill the need. And like we saw during the Shula and coaching search fiasco, the traditional media just wasn’t meeting the public’s need.

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