Instead of trying to take over aging institutions, or transform them
from within, conservatives launched parallel institutions of their
own. Talk radio, the Fox News Channel, the editorial page of the
Wall Street Journal, private secondary schools, religious colleges,
the burgeoning home-schooling network: all these are aspects of
a collective end-run around a liberal establishment whose favor
conservatives no longer seek to curry."
Rupert Murdoch, the founder and chairman of News Corporation
(and thus of Fox News), tried to explain this to the American Society
of Newspaper Editors. "What is happening right before us is, in short,
a revolution in the way young people are accessing news. They don't
want to rely on the morning paper for their up-to-date information.
They don't want to rely on a godlike figure from above to tell them
what's important. And to carry the religion analogy a bit further,
they certainly don't want news presented as gospel," Murdoch
argued. "Instead, they want their news on demand, when it works
for them. They want control over their media, instead of being
controlled by it. They want to question, to probe, to offer a
different angle."Terry Teachout : "Instead of staying to fight,
Americans withdrew from the battleground, went home to
cultivate their own cultural gardens--and started blogging,"
Teachout also cites Richard Brookheiser as another cultural
observer who "gets it." Responding to Murdoch's speech,
Brookheiser explained, "Murdoch was being polite. What
he was telling his colleagues was: newspapers are dead."
"Newspapers were more than the particular paper you read.
They were part of the dawn, with toothpaste, coffee, and
trying to find the right sock." That world exists no more.
In its place, we are now confronted by a daunting array
of media and news sources--most made available by the
Terry Teachout's point is clear: "One thing of which I am
sure is that the common culture of my youth is gone for
good. It was hollowed out by the rise of ethnic 'identity
politics,' then splintered beyond hope of repair by the
emergence of the web-based technologies that so maximized
and facilitated cultural choice as to make the broad-based
offerings of the old mass media look bland and unchallenging
Teachout's analysis, published in the respected pages of Commentary,
signals a growing awareness of the blogging revolution and what it
means for America. In a strange twist of irony, the culture of Western
civilization may survive through the efforts of a core of dedicated
bloggers who are unwilling to see it die. The media elite will simply
have to watch from a distance, scratching their heads as they watch
their audience disappear and their influence dissipate. The long-term
impact of the blogging revolution is yet to be seen. Nevertheless,
the toppling of the mainstream media's monopoly is a cultural
achievement in itself. May the revolution continue.