The press:Internet::sailing ships:modern navies

My esteemed colleague Blair Atholl has made a point in his posting about the printing press that goes deeper than disaffection with the spinelessness of Canadian journalism, or its reflexive collective leftism.

Observations about the leftism of the press are accurate but do not address the major point of Blair Atholl’s, which is that the printing press, as a means of distribution of news and opinion on an industrial scale, is finished, and that as a means of delivering the advertizing that pays for the news, the press has been displaced by a technology which targets ads much more accurately to specialized tastes and interests. That technology is one you are reading now.

You will note that opinion of the kind you like to read, such as ours for instance, is delivered free by four people who among them have between 10 and 12 university degrees.

This rivals what either the Globe or the National Post could deliver on any given day.

All you have to do is show up at Barrelstrength, or any of your favourite opinion sites.

The price of a subscription to Barrelstrength, or Watts up with That, or Matt Ridley, is zero. How we make our livings is not your concern, nor should it be.

The doomist premise is that news of City Hall will not be collected in the new post-print dispensation; the likely outcome is that news will be collected and disseminated whether for free or for pay as long as anyone wants to know about the doings of City Hall. The technology whereby this is done is changing, and the mourning for the printing press and the journalism it generated is akin to the mourning for the navy of wooden sailing ships. They were magnificent in their time and they have gone. Navies persist.

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Steve O

While I agree with what you say ;I believe that the most important point of the article is the fact that more and more people (readers) have gotten tired of the same garbage being spewed out by 90% of the so called journalists. It seems that no matter what liberal news source you read the same story is covered in the same way exactly word for word.If you read a non liberal news source (not many of those), you end up with what seems a totally different take on the same story, sometime the 2 stories are totally opposite to each other.It does make one wonder if the old adage that they (journalists) are given the script and told to publish it as written. When a story does not go in the direction the journalist (reporter) wants they will either ignore the facts completely, use half truths no truths or insert themselves into the story. I firmly believe that most readers or at least a large portion of readers have reached the breaking point and no longer trust or respect “scribes” of what once used to be an honorable and revered profession. Steve O


I agree with the comment above. When the print media began to lose some of their base to blogs they did not respond by improving their product, they doubled down on the very worst aspects of it. Namely the pro left bias that the blogs were exposing.

People had been seeing this for years but the medias response to the complaint was that they were trained journalists and we plebes did not understand the finer points of actual journalism.

The internet out waste to that lie in very short order. Then the excuse became that of course there was some bias, as it is simply not possible to report without having some bias of the reporter creep in, but this was so marginal as to be insignificant. After all there were editors and layers of fact checkers.

That to was quickly shown to be an outright lie by the blogosphere. Think back to the Bush national guard hit piece whose key piece of evidence was a fake letter that was proven to be fake by LGF within 24 hours. Media still continued to run the story.

And our own most recent election were the 6000 strong unbiased national media guild registered with elections Canada to campaign against Harper.

The MSM did not evolve into this – it was this biased from the beginning. They have now been exposed by blogs such as this one and can no longer deny that they are fully and completely the communications wing of the progressive left.

People have a thirst for honest reporting and unbiased news. The MSM and print media have decided that they are not going to give it to them. So people stop buying their product.

If we look at tv virtully every network has seen their market share diminish greatly. Except one that has grown by leaps and bounds. Fox.

It would seem simple to me that a quick cure to flagging ratings at the it her networks would be to figure out what Fox does well and do that even better.

But instead they will double down because again so much of the MSM are simple propaganda organs and there is no hiding that anymore

Keep up the great work and content here.

If there were a good newspaper out there I would subscribe for it is enjoyable to thumb through the paper with a coffee. I fact I have tried the national post twice again after previously canceling and promptly cancelled it again as there is just too much progressive garbage in it.


Thank you gentlemen, for commenting. My views are more technologically deterministic. I do not think the situation would be changed if the newspapers and broadcast television channels were staffed by graduates of Thomas Aquinas College, or some such imagined politically conservative university. What I am arguing above, and what I believe Blair Atholl was arguing, is that two older forms of technology are in the process of being replaced. The printing press had a five hundred year run, but the mass newspaper had a hundred years at least from the late 19th to the late 20th centuries, as the mass newspaper was the creature of mass literacy. The broadcast television channel, with its advertizer-supported business model, enjoyed scarcely fifty years.
Both are toast.
The fact that they are too left-wing for your taste and mine is irrelevant. Their leftism only adds pleasure to our leaving them behind, but even the most fervent leftist will soon no longer have the Toronto Star or the New York Times to agree with. No change of their political bias can save them.
That, I believe, is the argument. And that, I observe, is what is happening.


Yes Dal, I agree with your assessment for the most part, but I think that print and TV have expedited their own deaths and pushed readership towards new media.

When early new media made it apparent newpspaper publishers were producing a lousy product, they could have adjusted. Perhaps it would have only slowed the bleeding.

So they then had the option and capital to branch into the new fangled media. Problem solved right? People still want news and want to be informed. Hire a few experts to get the online version going, and take back your customer base.

How is that going for them? They are producing the same garbage just delivering it in a different vehicle. No one likes to be lied to.

Maybe print will completely dissappear, but I doubt it – at least not in my lifetime (unless the greenies make it illegal to print words on paper)

But I agree the glory days are likley long gone.

There is alot to be said for online content but one thing I will add is it causes more dissassociation between people. People are feeling this and are making efforts to be online less. There is a certain addictiveness to smartphones that does not exist with a newspaper.

I dont know why that is, but it is compulsive and time wasting for many.

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