Monday, August 23, 2004

Get Ready To Rumble?

In this corner we have the personification of the old media. Plodding, unaccountable, unresponsive, stubbornly stuck in the past, and unwilling (and probably unable) to adopt to the rapid changes overtaking the playing field. But also arrogant, cocksure, and dismissive; relying on its institutional gravitas (increasingly diminishing) to shout down those who dare to dissent. It still believes that it alone wields the power to open and close discussion on what it deems to be newsworthy. And if some upstarts should come along to challenge its rule, all it need do to win the day is to selectively cherry pick elements of its opponents arguments (without ever addressing their key contentions), slander their names, and assert facts without any supporting evidence in an editorial in the all-important Sunday newspaper.

That whole controversy over Kerry's Vietnam service? No need to discuss it further. For now that JIM BOYD from the Star Tribune has spoken on the matter, nothing else need be said. Jim and his fellow editorialistas will have the final word on the subject you see, and the rest of you can now just move along to something else.

The funny thing is that it don't work that way anymore. Because now, in this corner, we have the challengers, the tip of the new media's spear. Fleet of foot, agile, flexible, and constantly changing and adopting as circumstances warrant. Independent, aggressive, and questioning; they almost fall over backward to cite sources and correct errors. They don't accept the media status quo. Rather, they challenge old media and seek to hold it accountable. They create new avenues for discussion and break the old media's stranglehold on the issues in the public forum and how long they stay in the spotlight.

Jim Boyd likes to think that his position at the Strib allows him the last word in his argument with Scott Johnson and John Hinderaker from Power Line. But the good ol' days of the all powerful paper are gone. Just because he says it's over, don't mean it's over as evidenced by the devastating response to Boyd that appeared on Power Line yesterday.

I would love to see the two sides meet in a live, on-air debate at The State Fair, as John and Scott have proposed. It would be a old media vs. new media showdown, which I believe would vividly demonstrate the gap between them. When the C.S.S. Virginia steamed into Hampton Roads and laid waste to the wood-sided Union ships, it showed that the age of the ironclad had arrived. When the Polish cavalry was torn to shreds in a futile charge against German tanks in 1939, it showed that the age of the horse was officially over. If Jim Boyd would dare show his face at The State Fair, I daresay that we would see similar results.

It's been over twenty-four hours and still no response from Boyd. The whole world is watching and waiting (well at least Vox Day, Mike at Cold Fury, Dave at No Illusions, the Puddle Pirate at Brain Shavings, the Leather Penguin, Bunker Mulligan, Joshua from The Conjecturer, Jim at zmetro, and our own Saint Paul are) to see if Boyd rises to the challenge.

Say what you will about the Polish cavalry, but at least they had the balls to take the field.

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