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The Information Paradigm Shift

We are in the middle of an information access revolution. An unprecedented explosion in the size, scope, and ease of access to information has subjected the traditional gate-keepers of content to the brutal realities of losing a heretofore captive audience.

We are capable of choosing our own outlets and channels, both metaphorically and literally, and this has especially had ruinous consequences for the liberal leaning (to be VERY generous) news distributors. Market pressures have seen the collapse and reduction of the dominate news organizations, with outlets either closing, reducing their workforce, or selling out (See: Washington Post).

Given that the traditional news organizations are over 90 percent liberal(okay, I'm done being generous), their first reaction has of course been to attempt to use the power of government to compel support and consumers. The cleverly named "Fairness Doctrine" that liberals love to push is merely one of many guises for their totalitarian agenda. After all, when it comes down to it, the liberal agenda is boring, preachy, and consistently whiny, especially when compared to the robust messages of traditional economics and libertarian ideas. Who wants to listen to that, other than aging hippies and whiny "Safe-space" feminists and their ilk?

If I had the opportunity to propose two pieces of legislation relating to today’s media; I would first propose a measure that would remove all federal funding from any media outlet. PBS, NPR, and any other outlet must stand and fall by their own intrinsic merits and value in the free marketplace of the media.

The second piece of legislation that I would propose would be one that protected news sources from any form of the “Fairness Doctrine.” The media should never be forced to grant equal time to both sides of a given view by government fiat. This would also make the news sources less attractive to the partisan audiences that make up much of today’s media consumers.

These two pieces of legislation would ensure that America’s media was free to compete in the marketplace of news, and give Americans the broadest possible swathe to choose from. Freed of the economic constraints that government funding brings, as well as being forced to water down a show’s tone by the Fairness Doctrine, the future of America’s media would be far brighter. Because whether liberal or conservative; every media creator deserves to have the freedom to structure their content as they wish to. Plus its always entertaining to watch an incompetent liberal organization melt down under the pressures of the alternative media free-for-all that reigns today. Yes, that was a slam at Current TV.

The primary economic constraints facing the media in America today is threefold: information access, cost, and fragmentation. The Internet makes information access trivially simple and cheap, and has driven delivery costs to zero, as well as making most forms of information virtually free; thus reducing the profits to less or even nothing for many traditional forms and outlets for news (I'm looking at you, newspapers).

Secondly; market share has been showing a rapid decrease for all traditional outlets and news organs, further diminishing the economic pie they all partake of, and lowering revenue significantly. This also has reduced the amount of newspapers in the country, together with reducing the towns with multiple newspapers to just one or none.

Thirdly; media faces the double edged sword of deciding what to cover and how to cover it in relation to their audience. As the former FCC chairman Mark Fowler stated when pushing for deregulation of the media in the 1980s “the public’s interest defines the public interest.”  This affects the economic viability of news coverage at any time, but with the surfeit of options available to the consumers of media today; it is a requirement that news shows or media channels must find an audience that it is tune with ideologically and politically or they will not be economically viable.

In many ways, we are seeing a return to the centuries old practice wherein a news organization takes an unabashedly and unapologetic ideological position on issues and mobilizes a committed group of followers thereby. See: Breitbart. Admittedly, the major news outlets have been doing this for many decades, they just cloaked it under the thin veneer of neutrality. Well, that veneer has been ripped to shreds by the rise of alternative news organizations that focus their delivery over the Internet, and America is all the better for it. Let the ancient organs of liberalism burn, they and their papers and channels will not be missed.

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