This ten minute original production by Pajamas Media regarding the Senate hearings on terrorist monitoring programs seems to be very significant.
It makes a very strong case for the legality of the program and exposes the Democratic response as dangerous partisan hackery. But that's not what's so significant. It's the production itself. Original reporting, expert analysis, high production values, and distributed worldwide in an easy to use format. All without the high priests of the mainstream media shrouding it in their incense and giving it their blessing.
Granted, I am behind the curve of understanding implications of technology. But for me this is an extraordinary moment. With podcasting and video blogging and whatever else is around the corner, you do not need the CBS Nightly News or any of its brethren in order to consume news, even for big national events.
Fanfare please because that's it - their day is over! The monopoly is broken, the chains are unlocked, the fresh air of truth and media freedom is ours to breathe!
At least I think so. I'd feel a lot more confident if it still wasn't being produced by guys during their spare time. (Although it appears Paul Mirengoff did put some pants on before entering the Senate hearing room, which I see as progress for our kind).
The question stands, is it possible for anyone to make a living doing this? And is that a prerequisite for gathering accurate and reliable information?
I don't know. But I do know that those getting filthy rich off of the news trade are among the prime violators of accuracy and reliability, so the relationship isn't a direct one.
The successful business model for the new media is yet to be discovered, but maybe it has something to do with not having exhorbinantly paid full-time generalists do the job to a lowest common denominator level. Instead, maybe the role is better suited for a revolving cast of part-time, as needed, experts, doing it for love and maybe a little money. Paul Mirengoff of Power Line does a great job in analyzing legal arguments and Constitutional questions. For the so-called "domestic spying" hearings, you'll find none better.
But say, for instance, the scandal du jour in Washington had something to do with dramatically raising taxes on imported gin. Instead of Paul Mirengoff shouting questions at Ted Kennedy, we could get our own Atomizer to shout questions at Ted Kennedy. Now that would be must see TV. And he'd do it for nothing, I'm sure. Although there is no guarantee he'd agree to wear pants.