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Might have lost a friend due to flare-up over new media/old media

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I'm feeling guilty tonight. I was mean to an old-media friend. I was supposed to see her, and didn't, in the city, and had a weird exchange with her on the phone. All my fault. A newspaper she works for has just cut back pages and she was lamenting this and I had no sympathy. I said, "I could care less." Not very nice. Then I said, "You're getting paid." She said, "You could be paid too if you wanted to." Then I thought about all the things I could say about mainstream media and the ideas I care about, and didn't say anything.

I felt awful about it later. It was so mean, when a person was hurting. My resentment toward the old media came flaring up. I wonder if my friendship isn't over because of this. We became friends through a different media; and my friend only reads old media. She says things about the internet like, "But how can you check anything? You know that thing about Sarah Palin believing Africa was a country was an internet fabrication that then got on the news." There's no answering that of course, except to say that there's always been fabrication, and people are smart, and figure reliable sites out, and actually this is a more accurate medium in the end, and I care more about accuracy on this blog than all the factcheckers in the world could make me care about in the past and, more important, feel no compunction about correcting myself as prominently as my error.

At bottom, our difference is over reading habits. Old media people insist that there is a greater virtue to paper reading habits. I used to think so myself, but really, it's a bogus argument. Books aren't going away, newspapers aren't going away, completely, but people are going to get their information in different ways. Darted into them, in a sense, by blogs and aggregators. Less mediated, and the mediators will be more open about point of view. It's still the mind getting information.

I realize I've made the leap myself. I get more from a computer screen than I do from the paper, because it's My information, ideas I care about, and now I have to admit I am actually hoping that the old media deliquesce, and that advertising moves, and content providers can be paid for their service.

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About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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