Next week I’m giving a 15- to 20-minute talk on the role of the media in the presidential campaign. What I’d like to do is mention a few media trends and how they may play out. I thought I’d put up a rough outline in the hopes that you might help me refine it. Here’s where I’m at right now:
- Citizen journalism. From the “Macaca” video to Mayhill Fowler, expect the unexpected.
- The rise of a liberal counter-media. Left-leaning, media-savvy Web sites such as Media Matters and, increasingly, the cable channel MSNBC mean Fox News and Rush Limbaugh no longer have the field to themselves.
- The decline of the so-called objective press as a trusted source. The public that is most engaged with politics wants its political news delivered in the context of an ideological community.
- The role of “undernews.” I believe that’s a Mickey Kaus term. I’m referring to stories and rumors that are kept swirling online, breaking into the mainstream later if at all.
- The 24-minute news cycle. No longer is it enough to respond within a day or even in a few hours. There’s no longer a news cycle — it’s constant.
Well, there are five, which seems about right. But I’m not sure it’s the best five, and some are clearly subsets of the same phenomenon. If you’ve got a better idea, or some examples I should use to flesh these out, don’t hold back.