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Mr. Polis Apologizes

....but for what?

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, March 04, 2009.

Our beloved planet just had a close encounter with another Tunguska. The original flattened 800 square miles of Siberia a century ago and darkened the world’s skies. This week an asteroid came within 49k miles of Earth, only twice the height of some satellites. It measured something less than 154 feet in diameter. I don’t know whether it’s good or bad we weren’t told ahead of time. What I do know is we spend a lot of money to discover these things, plan to spend a lot more, and it would be nice to know if actions that might prevent a catastrophe in the future, or at least rein in expenditures if not, is being discussed.

A strong, independent media might look into this and report back, wouldn’t it, Congressman Polis?

Jared Polis was raised in an elitist bell jar and sometimes it shows. He’s very smart, very rich, very removed from the life cycles that most people endure. He has problems empathizing with that which he cannot really imagine. He means well, learns quick, remains an icon for progressives, and is clearly devoted to the issues important to his constituency, sometimes before the constituency is aware of them. Even so, Polis once fueled a badly written piece of legislation before he ran for Congress and can be cluelessly arrogant, as he was with a local radio station over interview times. And, when the Rocky Mountain News closed down last Friday, Polis, speaking at a Netroots Nation event, offered up "… when we say, 'Who killed the Rocky Mountain News,' we're all part of it, for better or worse, and I argue it's mostly for the better….The media is dead, and long live the new media, which is all of us."

At some point, apparently when a recording of Polis remarks was posted (and who’d thought that would happen?) it was drawn to the attention of Mr. Polis that the News was a large employer and people were hurt. Facing bravely into the wind, Polis said "I apologize to the entire Rocky Mountain News family and anyone who was offended by my recent remarks….I did not mean to offend nor to show anything less than a strong sense of remorse for the loss of the Rocky.” Only the craven genuflection by the GOP before Rush Limbaugh was a more nauseating event of late. After all, Polis might have to deal with olde media again. The MSM has not died because its journalism cannot compete with heroic bloggers. It died because the Internet stole the classified ads, the only chronic draw of papers along with favorite comic strips. News changes too fast for print, and the world chose radio and television for news. But when MSM is finally gelded and the genus dies out, as Polis celebrated, and we then live off the press releases of government agencies and a Blogosphere of various incompetencies, will any aspect of the new media have the financial ability and ethical stones required for a long term investigation requiring research and reporter skills? Currently, the blogs can shine when the heavy lifting has been done by the likes of AP.

And, let’s not be over-sentimental about the MSM. It’s often been as compliant to power and as incompetent in its professional duties as could be imagined. But, the infrastructure for doing it was always there, and defended with various degrees of enthusiasm, and sometimes it brought down the evil and incompetent when government watchdogs and a clueless public, riven by ignorance and inertia, did not because they could not. I do not equate the temporary elevation of Ned Lamont by DailyKos, nor the good works of Talking Points Memo or Crooks and Liars to be equal to Watergate or the then derided series in the Washington Post into the Chandra Levy murder. One wonders if the blogosphere will ever turn on or turn in those among them who anonymously proclaimed an innocent Congressman a murderer because they anonymously could with no penalty.

And most importantly, how will the new media be funded? Will those who love the free internet be willing to pay so that we can have a functioning, independent, and competitive news acquisition system? If not……what then? Even if we discovered too late we dodged a bullet from space, attention is drawn, something may be done. Can Mr. Polis assure us that even that will be done in the future?