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tigtog (aka Viv) is the founder of this blog. She lives in Sydney, Australia: husband, 2 kids, cat, house, garden, just enough wine-racks and (sigh) far too few bookshelves.

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  1. Medivh
    Medivh at |

    I can’t say, amusingly, that I agree with Shirky’s central idea here. Moon landing doubters have existed since 1969. Which Shirky admits. The difference between him and me is that he seems to think that the marginalised oddballs never got together and thought of themselves as the righteous (and majority in certain limited spaces).

    Now we’ve Time Cube and associated other weirdnesses right out in public, yes. But the thing is, the mainstream media have the same audience that they did 20 years ago, give or take a few centimetres of overton window. The fact that it’s easier to find oddball points of view doesn’t mean that those opinions are mainstream now. It just means that the internet is a great engine for getting marginalised people together, whether it’s your feminists organising worldwide for change, or it’s your conspiracy theorists doing their thing.

    Mainstream media are in trouble because of the internet, it’s true. But it’s because they don’t understand their jobs in the digital age is the same as their old dead-tree schtick only harder, with better quality output. The cutting back on quality to meet lowered profits is only going to end in a race to the bottom. The opposite direction has it’s problems too, I’ll acknowledge. Mainly with money. To which I have no answers, just the knowledge that the way the MSM orgs are going now is not the path to survival.

  2. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    I’m not so sure Shirky’s argument is that the kooks never got together for mutual back-pats, it’s just that their beliefs and gatherings were unable to impinge much on the newsworthy consensus before the internet gave them effective MSM-bypass routes to reach eyeballs that previously could never have seen them at all. The supposed “liberal consensus” was always curated/tailored to comfortably fit with the sensibilities of the educated middle classes, and although the MSM might still not give marginalised voices adequate representation, it’s become impossible now to pretend that those voices don’t exist at all, which shatters that cosy illusion of the consensus.

    BTW, the transcript of Mark Colvin’s 2012 Andrew Olle Media Lecture is now available.

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