Is the media in danger of irrelevance?

In a provocative piece in today’s Christian Science Monitor, Randy Dotinga writes that the media’s choices about pictures and video from Iraq may be putting the press in an untenable position.

Vaughn Ververs, editor of The Hotline, National Journal’s online political newsletter, argues that the press is in danger of becoming irrelevant, with so many people turning to the Internet — where the Berg video is enormously popular — in search of the most complete war coverage. News organizations are “no longer the gatekeepers of what Americans see and don’t see,” says Mr. Ververs. “They’re at risk of losing their audience to a large extent.”
A Monitor/TIPP poll last week showed 52% of Americans disapprove of the release of the prison-abuse photos, while nearly six in ten agreed with the statement “widespread media coverage of prisoner treatment in Iraq is responsible for triggering new retaliation against Americans.” Meanwhile, newspaper ombudsmen are dealing with the fallout.
Houston Chronicle reader representative James T. Campbell says liberals wanted to see more prison photos, while conservatives clamored for more images of Berg to show terrorists are “barbarians.”
I believe the Internet has been the shining media star in coverage of this war and its aftermath. From the blogs of Iraqi citizens to the on-demand ability to deliver uncensored pictures and video, the war has given the Web a legitimacy that it didn’t have before — and one that is forever changing the global media landscape.

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