It is painful when you know you are drowning or attached by a lifeline to a sinking ship. The media, in several of its various facets, keeps attempting to reinvent itself while watching its models decay and corrode before its eyes. Some are working hard to find new ways, some are wasting their energy lashing out at the Internet as the bad guy, and some are just being foolish, clinging to whatever they can to stay afloat in a sea that will only swallow them more quickly because they are thrashing so hard to swim against the current.
Two examples of this from this week include the AP's move to DRM news and Lou Dobbs' leaping off a cliff by keeping the Birthers story alive.
First the AP. This has been bandied about and dissected extremely well in a number of places. (here, here, and here.) I'm not going to dissect it further. My $.02 is this. Regardless of what the Columbia Journalism Review may think, and those who fear the worst my rail against, the AP has just accelerated its own demise. There will be some fights and tussles in the short term and that will seem to indicate life. Heck, the AP might even make a few dollars for awhile, but in the long term, what the AP is attempting to set up as a life preserver will deflate and that will be that. Until the body dips under the water for the last time at some point in the future, there will be plenty of agitated and anxious yelling from those watching the spectacle from the river bank.
On to Lou Dobbs. Talk about grasping for straws. Setting Dobbs aside for the moment, this entire Birther episode has proven once and for all that the 24 Hour Cable news machine has turned into parody of itself.
Report the story as a non-story, no wait, it might be a story, report the story as a possible story, no wait, it's not, lets back off, no, wait, let's report that this is still getting traction among crazies even though its been refuted, now, let's report it that even with refutation it is still getting traction, now, let's backtrack and ask are the crazies really crazies.
The only thing left is the inevitable post mortem with Howard Kurtz asking should the media have covered this the way it did. You can basically follow this pattern on any big story that really isn't a story for the last few years, and probably for an eternity to come.
But back again, to Mr. Dobbs. His own producers debunked the story when Lou was taking the night off, and yet he comes back on to his show and continues to run with it, forcing his boss to trip over his own tongue ten different ways from Sunday trying to explain. When my mother, who
l oves loved to watch Lou Dobbs, turns him off, you know Dobbs has not only jumped the shark, he jumped it, missed, and got chewed up and spit out by the creature as not worth the calories for digestion.
I don't know. Maybe Dobbs does believe the things he spouts. I doubt it. Maybe he is a lunatic running the asylum at CNN. I think he's just trying, vainly, to stick out in a crowded market to feed his own sense of self importance, while clinging desperately to a career he used to have. My friend Mickeleh on Twitter says CNN needs to produce a document proving Lou Dobbs has a brain. I tend to disagree. Why ask the guys who installed the plugged toilet in the first place to fix it when its overflowing with crap all over your floor?