Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Are You Not Entertained?
Matt Taibbi nails the bigger implications of not simply the News Corp scandal but of the company's rise to power in the first place:
"Once the media business made the collective decision to always put money above editorial judgment, I think scandals like the News of the World affair became inevitable. Because once media companies abandoned the notion that their business was somehow different from other money-making businesses, that there were no longer places they wouldn’t go to generate product, it became inevitable that the corporate media game would become nothing more than an all-out, relentless quest for sensational, titillating material... When information equals money, and everybody in the business is all about money, pretty soon lines are going to be crossed to get information."
It's nothing short of staggering how often this connection can be brought up in any discussion of the modern media, but the 1976 film Network was so frighteningly dead-on that it can legitimately be wondered whether Paddy Chayefsky was some kind of honest-to-God prophet. Network imagined a world in which news and entertainment were one and the same and where the engine that powered each was the relentless pursuit of cash for the conglomerates that owned the media outlets and controlled the product they disseminated. As Taibbi says, what we're witnessing now is the corporate media-for-money stranglehold taken to its logical, and sickening, conclusion.