Scott referred to the Deadspin disaster earlier today. To me, this and so many other closings of quality publications leads to a broader question of whether journaistic outlets can even exist under this current age of capitalism. In short, I think the answer is basically no. Journalism can exist in a capitalist system of course, but only when the people who own these outlets have some higher purposes, at least in part, whether it is some belief in the truth or at least a willingness to accept relatively moderate profits instead of instant gold. But we now live in an era of venture capitalist schemes, where rank idiots stumble into massive wealth and believe that they are rich because they are smarter than everyone else. When this happens, as it did in the initial Gilded Age, these morons run roughshod over the world around them.
The dipshit who bought what was once Gakwer Media from Univision thinks that by doing this such as placing auto-playing video with audio in the middle of posts, he is going to make serious bank. This is simply idiotic, as demonstrated by his whole management of Deadspin. The fact that he doesn’t even understand why people read that site is a great symbol of the sheer stupidity of the people who run our world. And we’ve seen this over and over and over again in recent years. See the “pivot to video” disaster of a few years ago, the New Gilded Age version of “I have my own special railroad gauge and everyone should change their rail system for it even though there’s no evidence it will work.”
Simply put, journalism cannot create the kinds of instant profits venture capitalists want. But journalists also need to make enough money to live in order to practice journalism. It’s easy enough for LGM to exist. We are professionals and aren’t trying to make a living through our punditry and analysis. Real journalists are. So they need jobs. But the only jobs are in service of the agenda of whatever douche buys a given publication at a given time. This bodes very poorly for the future, or does until we have re-tamed or overthrown this system of capitalism in which we are forced to live in the present. It’s a sad state of affairs.