Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Parable on the Media Gods

Way back in ancient times, before the internet, when there was a “fairness doctrine”, before cable news systems there existed gods and lesser gods. The New York Times was the Zeus of the news world and resided on the new Mount Olympus known as the island of Manhattan. The lesser gods of ABC, CBS and NBC all paid fealty to the supreme lord by taking the stories published in the NYT and regurgitating them on their nightly news broadcasts. Obsequiousness to the great “Grey Lady” was the normal order of things, simply because that was how it had always been.

But the world of the gods began to change with the advent of cable television and it’s giving birth to a new lesser god, CNN. The order of things on Mount Olympus changed little at first as CNN remained loyal to father NYT, but the mortals below soon became restless with the oppression of the gods, and being what they are, some of them rebelled. Soon they gave birth to a lesser god of their own, FOX, and this new lesser god refused to pay homage to father NYT or any of the other lesser gods for that matter. At first this new lesser god struggled under the weight of the older gods but still refused to bend its knee to them. The word began to spread amongst the mortals that perhaps they too need not cast their fealty to the gods of Manhattan. Soon the mortals became empowered to become their own gods! The internet was born and gave birth to its own child the “blogosphere!”

All this of course angered the gods of Manhattan. “How dare these mere mortal pray to other gods!” they bellowed in their private conclaves. They would never state so publicly but they knew that just as with the gods of ancient Greece they would be rendered powerless without the fealty and prayers of the mortals. Soon not only was it their power that became diminished but also that of their demigods, the politicians, over whom they claimed the power to create or destroy at their whim. Not only had these impertinent mortals created their own rivals to the gods of Manhattan but they were beginning to not just challenge, but replace the demigods that had been chosen for them!

With each new lessening of their power the gods of Manhattan would hurl new bolts of thunder and lightning down upon the mortals from on high. “This FOX you attend is a false god, a usurper of the wisdom of Manhattan! Your new politicians are powerless; we will destroy them just as we have those that came before them that refused to bow before us!” But the mortals continued to ignore the gods of old and their newly created lesser gods of MSNBC and CNBC as well. Fewer and fewer mortals went to their temples of circulation and Neilson numbers, so each new lightning bolt was weaker and farther off the mark that the last. The edifice of their temples, the great taxing and redistributing, all powerful government wherein their demigods had resided, were being redecorated by the mortals in their own image.

The gods of Manhattan have not passed into mythology yet, the rumblings of Mount Manhattan will continue for some time but they grow weaker with each new cycle of the rebellion of the mortals, but like the Titans that preceded the Greek gods of Olympus they will soon fade into the mists of time, starved of the offerings of circulation and Neilson numbers.

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