From: Terry Heaton

To: Joe Hagan

Subj: Your New York Observer column, NYTV ’05 Predictions”

Joe, I love you, man, but lay off the egg nog for a minute.

THIS is your prediction for the year 2005? The return of non-ideological news? This prophecy can’t come true, because there is no such thing as non-ideological news. I realize you THINK there is, but that’s just self-deception gone to seed.

You wish for a market demand for a newscast the entire viewing public can trust, and you write: “Right-wing media was invented as a foil to a supposed left-wing bias in New York newsrooms.” There’s no supposition about it, Joe. While your column is interesting, it’s just more of the same delusion that the MSM exists (or can exist) in a safe, middle ground between two opposites. Not true.

You write of Al Gore’s difficulties. What about Air America? Attempts to make a left-wing response to what MSMers view as “right-wing media” turn out to be just silly and so extreme as to be laughable. Why? Because the MSM already occupies the position. Fox news (and Drudge and Rush, to a certain extent) are successful, because they’ve offered a voice that is different. Nothing mysterious about it. No conspiracy. Just different.

You think this is a fraud, because you don’t believe news people represent a more liberal view of life than the audiences they serve. Let’s see. They’re more educated. They make more money. They cover the odds and ends of life along with the poor and the afflicted. Dog bites man; it isn’t news. Man bites dog; it IS news. But when four men in different parts of the world bite four dogs on the same day, it presents a distorted view of reality. Can’t you see that? By nature, the “news” has a leftward tilt. It has to be that way, and there’s nothing wrong with it.

But let’s be honest here. Just because this right-wing conspiracy has success pulling a mass audience doesn’t mean the left needs to rise up in response. What if (think about this) the people were just tired of the man-bites-dog concept? What if they KNEW such stuff didn’t reflect their experience and that it was irrelevant to them? What’s wrong with somebody doing it differently?

Nobody has a lock on what it means to be “the press.” There isn’t a right or wrong way, and thankfully, nobody has the authority to make it so.

So stop complaining, and for God’s sake, get off the nostalgic longing for the way it used to be. Hop aboard the Cluetrain and you’ll lose your fear of tomorrow.

It would also help if you laid off the egg nog.


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