February 28, 2005

reNew Media

This is pretty powerful coming from Marc Cooper*, who is recovering the body of Hunter S. Thompson's journalistic corpse (corpus), mauled by the LA Times' Tim Rutten:

My analogy with the Pope, I think, is appropriate. Rutten?s piece is written as if a committee of crusty, aging, frightened defenders of some obscure faith have jointly and hastily pieced together a manifesto of dogma ? a brief that will be used to excoriate and excommunicate the heretics who are amassing right outside their oaken doors carrying pitchforks and wireless laptops.

I sometimes think that bloggers who proclaim that we are already witnessing the collapse of the Old Media (and daily newspapers as we know them) are overstating things. But reading Rutten makes me wonder if the bloggers aren?t right. The Times column has the stench of fear and death all about it. Can the mighty L.A. Times actually feel so threatened by the example of a single journalist who is already dead? Apparently so.

There's a lot of meat there, here's another snip:

The avalanche of homages to HST that has rumbled across America over the past week since his suicide, all those heartfelt recognitions of his talents and verve and pure balls, all of that ? we now learn?was nothing but nostalgia. Poor dumb bastards we are who thought that Hunter Thompson was actually a kick-ass writer who made most reporters look like exactly what they in reality are: knock-kneed dweebs who tremble in the presence of power and authority. Worse, we now learn from Rutten that Thompson had not only ceased to contribute to our secret little brotherhood of Real and Certified Journos?but had actually corrupted them

And here's another that recalls for me, an earlier blogpost and Brent Hallard's second comment at this blogpost:

I could ask just what newspapers Tim Rutten is reading. But it might be more appropriate to ask ? in the wake of Gonzo?what it is he?s been smoking? Rutten?s right that much of American journalism, and certainly that of his fluffy home paper, is indeed infected with a ?tedious narcissism.? Tedious as hell?as the Times and just about every other paper in the country adheres to the obsolete he-said/she-said language of insurance company reports to fill their news columns. So deathly afraid that any trace of human bias, or insight (God Forbid) might actually appear in one of these news reports they are dutifully scrubbed by squads of Newsroom Elders who guarantee every rough edge and and every stitched seam will be filed off and sealed up before being pushed out to the public as perfectly symmetrical ingots of composite and inert News Product.

(emphasis mine)

Oh yea, and if you are reading this far, check out the reference to Pissaro in the first comment, by "Too Many Steves".

*Marc Cooper's site suffers from a design that seems to be overly proprietary (a huge dollop of ironly there, if you know his sophisticated politics), in that his links keep you in the window of his site, making you work to find the URL of the linked site. I guess writers must find it hard to give away their intellectual property.

Posted by Dennis at February 28, 2005 11:01 PM

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