Down with the “Objective” Media

A comment from Belmont Club.

Back in the heady early days of the American experiment the media was gleefully, virulently partisan. It descended directly from pamphlets and polemics. There was none of this “impartial” or “objective” journalism stuff that was created as a byproduct of the process of granting government monopoly rights over broadcast spectra to individual radio and television stations. In other words, the whole idea of “objective” journalism came out of the same kind of thinking that created the Fairness Doctrine, which was intended to encourage a multiplicity of views in a scarce medium but perversely discouraged all views. Now unused broadcast spectra are not scarce. There is unused AM spectrum everywhere in the US, and unused FM spectrum in most cities and all less populous areas. So scarcity is not a good argument, as the only scarcity is that created by government’s monopoly-granting power. Now that we have a true multiplicity of views on the radio, the internet, and fox news, it makes no sense whatsoever to impose a new Fairness Doctrine to mess it up. No sense, that is, unless the actual intention is to stifle free debate.The alternative is blind stupidity, which should not be discounted as a modus operandi.

It falls to those who recognize the problem and the solution to come up with, or support, the pamphleteers and polemicists who rise up to fill the need. offers one business model. Cafe Press offers another. Blog businesses like Pajamas offer yet another business model. But none of these have made it possible to be a full-time blogger making the kind of money someone with a family and mortgage needs to make. And none have opened up the opportunity to be anything other than an opinion columnist. Where are the spots for beat reporters, advertising writers, editors, cub reporters? Where is the career path? Where is the revenue model that would attract someone with deep pockets to be the publisher of this enterprise who lends it a unifying vision, a consistent style, and operating capital?

Your thoughts are appreciated.

Shannon Love talks about the evolution of the “objective” media better than I can here. The DU has a lefty take on the same issue here.


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