The Death of the Mainstream Media

The hemorrhaging circulation of the paleomedia gratifies me better than bubblegum. Lord I love it. The tube worms of the network suites have discovered that lo! Fewer of the citizenry sit nightly before the flickering propaganda modem. The readership of newspapers yet falls. This dereliction they ascribe to declining literacy, the lack of public spirit, and indeed anything but their own uselessness.

Such thunder-buckets as Rupert Murdoch, noting that people go to the web, frantically buy web properties. It is not the abysmal content of the media, see, that turns people away. We just want our sewage through a different pipe. If the media put the same twaddle on the web, thinks Rupert, people sick of it elsewhere will love it.

Any day now. I suggest that the reasons for the loss are otherwise and several. Permit me a few thoughts:

What are the topics of most fascination in the United States? Of most importance? Certainly among them are race, sex in the social sense, crime, and immigration. Now, let’s see whether we can name four subjects about which the media speak with calculated mendacity obvious to everyone one. How about…oh, say…race, sex in the social sense, crime, and immigration?

Race, for example:

A story on the site of ABC News led with the lurid headline, “Young Singers Spread Racist Hate.” Now, if young singers have ABC’s bowels in a racial uproar, you can be sure that the singers are white. We all understand that hate is what white people do. Thus it was. A pair of very young girls, calling themselves Prussian Blue, say that they want to maintain the purity of the white race. Various authorities are quoted as to the effect that they are shocked, appalled, disappointed, and so on.

At about the same time, I found the account of a black man, one Dr. (of what, I wonder?) Kamau Kambon , who while speaking to a panel at the law school of Howard University (a black school in Washington, DC) said that the white race should be exterminated.

This is not my interpretation but rather his explicit, repeated statement. I quote: white people "have retina scans, they have what they call racial profiling, DNA banks and they’re monitoring our people to try to prevent the one person from coming up with the one idea. And the one idea is, how we are going to exterminate white people because that, in my estimation, is the only conclusion I have come to. [sic] We have to exterminate white people off the face of the planet to solve this problem." He wants to kill me, my daughters, and my friends.

This produced from the media…near silence. From Howard University…silence. From professional blacks…silence.

Now, this column is not about race relations, but about the dishonesty of the media. I do not think that blacks want to exterminate whites, though Mr. Kambon needs to take his medication. Nor do I want to exterminate anyone, with the possible exception of lawyers and people in public relations. Nor do I know any whites who want to exterminate blacks. (You can find some very strange websites that might, though.)

We all know the pattern. When Larry Summers, president of what once was Harvard University, mentioned that men are better than women at mathematics, a fact studied to death and well settled, it was national news practically forever. Hissyfits were everywhere thrown. Summers duly whimpered and licked all feet within range. Ah, but when Mr. Kambon wants to kill most of the United States, why…ah, heh…cough.

Also about the same time, the coach of the football team of the Air Force Academy suggested that his team was faring badly because it didn’t have enough black players. "It just seems to be that way, that Afro-American kids can run very, very well. That doesn’t mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can’t run, but it’s very obvious to me they run extremely well," DeBerry said, not too articulately, in remarks first broadcast Tuesday night by KWGN-TV in Denver.

Conventional outrage gurgled tiredly forth as from a broken drain. Like Summers, DeBerry ended up squirming on the rug in apology. (Why? Whatever happened to manhood?) It is of course a fact that blacks run fast. Are they overwhelming in the running slots of the NFL because they are slow, do you think? Then why does the league not recruit me at, say, six million green ones a year? I am, I promise, far slower than any running back in football.

To point out that blacks are good athletes is virtually a firing offense, but to urge killing millions is fine. Welcome to the media.

What has this to do with the circulation of newspapers? Lots. For one thing, whites who are to be killed may weary of hostility from the media, and they are most of the readership. Except I’m not any longer. For another, coverage is boring because predetermined, irritating because antagonistic and mendacious, and useless because it contributes nothing to solving, or even to understanding, the racial problems of the country. Or any problems of the country.

In fact the media aggravate racial relations. When whites think of blacks, the first two to leap to mind are (drum roll) Al and Jesse, no? Aside from driving away the audience, they give a horrible impression of blacks. But Al and Jesse are not the black race. They are just Al and Jesse. On the web you find a spectrum of black thought, much of it wildly different from that peddled by television. Try Will Powell, or LaShawn Barber.

But something else is at work here. For decades, the major media have had near-control of the news and the culture. If an event didn’t appear on the networks, it hadn’t happened. The paleos apparently do not realize that they have lost that control — that when they refuse to give play to a call for extermination, their refusal no longer kills the story. Kambon’s call for my children’s liquidation surged across the nation, copy after copy, including video clips.

Wake up, Rupert, baby. For the intelligent, the media are no longer primary. Few any longer regard them as other than advocacy lashups for certain groups. Why bother?

There is, I think, nothing the paleos can do to change this. They are irremediably ideologized, insular, and trapped by demographics into a bland editorial mass-market philosophy of one-size-fits-all. The web, far more agile, can provide focused sites about anything at any intellectual level.

The looming unknown in all of this is the circulation of the net, its influence, its clout. How important, really, is the web? How do you measure the ambit of ten thousand blogs, of thousands of personal websites like Fred On Everything, of outfits with no physical existence like and The answer I think is that you don’t, really. The ghostly statistics of forwards, caches, and reposts make it difficult to determine one’s own circulation, much less that of countless other sites. This makes it hard for CBS to estimate, and easy for it to underestimate, the tidal wave it faces. I’m glad that it is their problem and not mine.

Fred Reed is author of Nekkid in Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down a Well.