April 09, 2005

The coming media chaos 

WILL might seem like a somewhat stodgy and traditional public broadcasting operation. Which is mostly a good thing, since that tradition includes the commitment to serving the public interest, education in the broadest sense, community, that kind of thing, which is now laughably passe among the consolidated and thoroughly profit-oriented commercial broadcast media. But we're really rooting for the coming chaos that will almost certainly shock and awe the broadcast media universe in the coming five years. I'm talking about the power and utility of the Internet, which finally is starting to look like it could actually undermine the entire flawed big media structure. If you want a peek at the coming media chaos, and the reactions of panic and denial from the networks and advertising industry, check out Bob Garfield's story from yesterday's All Things Considered on NPR, An Impending Period of Transitional Chaos for Media. The handful of media megaconglomerates who control what you see, hear, and read on just about every traditional media outlet, and who reap hundreds of billions every year in advertising dollars, may yet find a way to lock up all "intellectual property" on the Internet. The Supreme Court may help them by ruling that technologies that enable us to share files are verboten. The interests who want you to sit passively and consume their messages and products without creating your own may mold the world wide web in the shape of 20th century commercial media. Not if we can help it.

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