The smell in the air is self-serving media

Howard Kurtz has picked up a scent he doesn’t like. This isn’t so unusual, but this time I really agree with him. He’s fed up with the scare tactics that old media are conveniently using in an endless series of stories about the dangers of social media websites.

I’m getting a little tired of reading all these “exposes” of Facebook and MySpace.

Hardly a week goes by without some newscast or newspaper discovering that it can be hazardous to the college or professional careers of young people to post pictures of themselves engaged in drinking, drugging, loving or other racy activity that might be frowned upon by some adult in a position of authority.

Okay, we get it. Hasn’t dumb judgment always been hazardous to your professional health?

It’s a legitimate story, but I detect a faint whiff of Old Media getting all exercised about the terrible dangers of New Media–why are all those kids wasting their time blabbing on these social sites?–rather than figuring out how to appeal to their young fans.

Jeff Jarvis adds that “in the future, your past is your future,” a reference to the latest stories in this meme — the offspring of politicians embarrassing their moms and pops.

Nobody out here argues that there’s value to these stories, but enough is enough. Not only do they tilt the general public’s attitudes about such, but they also make it difficult for editors and reporters to see beyond them to the real values of social media.

That’s a shame.


  1. No fooling, Terry! Well put. Being a member of old media — newspapers — for 20 years, we need to change. Yammering on about the “dangers” of new media is inconsistent with moving forward. Lets get over it!

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