Stan Collender's blog
Andrew...I was there with you all the way until the last sentence. In talking about the media you said "... they have no one to blame but themselves for their declining reputations and increasing irrelevance."
Here's my problem: we (and I'm putting myself in this category) are all assuming that reputations and relevance are what motivates media types. Or we want to think that's what's motivating them. Or should be motivating them.
That might have been the case at one time and for some it may still be. But I'm increasingly coming to the conclusion that monetary compensation is the primary, and perhaps overwhelming motivator. Higher readership, page views, subscriptions, and ratings arew what get you bonuses and raises. That makes it important to attract the largest audience possible and keep them reading/ listening/watching for as long as possible.
In case you're not familiar with it, the title above is the frequently asked question from Brad Delong a highly regarded professor at the University of California, Berkeley (my alma mater) and former Treasury Department deputy assistant secretary.
I first became familiar with Brad when he submitted responses to the questions of the week I used to ask when I was writing a column for the online version of National Journal. I've since taught a class or two for him when I was visiting the Berkeley campus several years ago, his extraordinary blogging was the original inspiration for my starting CG&G, and he has been exremely gracious in linking to several of my columns and many of Andrew's, Pete's, and my CG&G posts.
Brad's latest post finally prompted me to enter the fray about the media.
My mind tends to think in terms of the political and policy implications of economic information and commentary such as Andrew's so I saw something in addition to what he mentioned: confirmation that James Carville was right: It is indeed the economy, stupid.
Here's my "Fiscal Fitness" column for this week from Roll Call.
Bush Budget Legacy:
Much More Debt,
Far Fewer Options
May 13, 2008
At the same time that the three main reality shows — “American Idol,” “Dancing With the Stars” and the 2008 election — are dominating much of the water cooler talk these days, I’m increasingly haunted by something George W. Bush promised as he was entering the White House: He said he would eliminate the national debt by the end of this decade.
That pledge was made for two reasons. First, federal budget surpluses were recorded from fiscal 1998 to 2001. Even though the surpluses were unexpected and no one was really sure why they happened, the president and almost everyone else assumed that, after four years in a row, they would continue.