Friday, May 9, 2008

Putting the "public" in public media ...

The "public" as subsidizer of the news business? The "public" as a monolithic "object" in league with the media?

Or the "public" we envision in our "One Long Island" projects?

"....While it is the only business protected by the Constitution, the press isn’t shielded from the laws of supply and demand. If the current business model isn’t working, then it’s because the distribution of news has radically changed, allowing those with Internet access to dictate their news content.

Judy and Mickey are not going to be able to save Newsday, and the idea of a local media collective is dead on arrival. The future of Newsday will be decided by veteran financial professionals, seasoned media analysts, digital marketers, government regulators and, most importantly, by the market forces that are shaping how and who gets their news.

If Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp. are the front-runners in a bid that comes in at over half a billion dollars, then it’s because he understands economy of scale, the impact of digital media on traditional print and how to ensure that people still want a newspaper in their hands. Others suggest that Daily News publisher Mortimer Zuckerman, the New York Observer or Cablevision will all make a run. All of them will find a lucrative local market.

Newspapers in America have always been a business. If we prop them up with government subsidies and shotgun business models we might as well bring back the telegraph and the tintype, but the end result will still be obsolescence."

"The public is an idea, which would never have occurred to people in ancient times, for the people themselves en masse in corpore <8 took steps in any active situation, and bore responsibility for each individual among them, and each individual had to personally, without fail, present himself and submit his decision immediately to approval or disapproval. When first a clever society makes concrete reality into nothing, then the Media 9 creates that abstraction, "the public," which is filled with unreal individuals, who are never united nor can they ever unite simultaneously in a single situation or organization, yet still stick together as a whole. The public is a body, more numerous than the people which compose it, but this body can never be shown, indeed it can never have only a single representation, because it is an abstraction. Yet this public becomes larger, the more the times become passionless and reflective and destroy concrete reality; this whole, the public, soon embraces everything. . . .

The public is not a people, it is not a generation, it is not a simultaneity, it is not a community, it is not a society, it is not an association, it is not those particular men over there, because all these exist because they are concrete and real; however, no single individual who belongs to the public has any real commitment; some times during the day he belongs to the public, namely, in those times in which he is nothing; in those times that he is a particular person, he does not belong to the public. Consisting of such individuals, who as individuals are nothing, the public becomes a huge something, a nothing, an abstract desert and emptiness, which is everything and nothing. . . .

The Media is an abstraction (because a newspaper is not concrete and only in an abstract sense can be considered an individual), which in association with the passionlessness and reflection of the times creates that abstract phantom, the public, which is the actual leveller. . . . More and more individuals will, because of their indolent bloodlessness, aspire to become nothing, in order to become the public, this abstract whole, which forms in this ridiculous manner: the public comes into existence because all its participants become third parties.
10 This lazy mass, which understands nothing and does nothing, this public gallery seeks some distraction, and soon gives itself over to the idea that everything which someone does, or achieves, has been done to provide the public something to gossip about. . . . The public has a dog for its amusement. That dog is the Media. 11 If there is someone better than the public, someone who distinguishes himself, the public sets the dog on him and all the amusement begins. This biting dog tears up his coat-tails, and takes all sort of vulgar liberties with his leg—until the public bores of it all and calls the dog off. That is how the public levels."

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