The New York Times spills the beans about the real reason the legacy media hates social media…
Advertising revenue that used to go to quality journalism is now captured by big tech intermediaries… Advertising revenue for print newspapers has fallen by two-thirds since 2006.
Google and Facebook — global monopolies sitting astride public discourse, diverting money that used to go to publishers to themselves.
And, of course, there is some whining about the so-called “fairness doctrine” that also allowed competition – for both listeners and advertising dollars.
This is not to say there are no problems with social media specifically or the Internet generally. Electronic mail enabled rapid mass communication and the spread of false information. Snopes was set up specifically because of e-mail hoaxes in the 1990s.
But we should not pretend that the legacy media’s real concern is the spread of fake news. The real concern is twofold: They resent the fact that the great unwashed masses are now allowed to have an audience without the filter of an editor, and they resent that they are losing revenue because people have chosen alternate sources.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of each person to make sure they are reading reliable sources, and it is the responsibility of each person to not share things that are false. Social media may allow the spread of fake news, but it also allows instant rebuttal of fake news in a way that was never possible before. A dishonest or misleading article in the local newspaper could not be corrected by a letter to the editor until days or even weeks later, if the newspaper even chose to publish it. That is not the case any more.
Twenty five years ago, legacy media was complaining about Rush Limbaugh and talk radio. Fifteen years ago, legacy media was complaining about blogs. Today, they are complaining about Facebook. In twenty years, they will be complaining about something else – if they even exist by that point. But we should always remember the agenda behind the complaining, and keep that in mind when considering those arguments.