In writing today about the print death of the P-I and other papers, NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof touches on what at times seemed the prevailing sentiment of those who couldn't wait for Seattle's oldest business to die.
"The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is the latest to pass away, save for a remnant that will exist only in cyberspace, and the public is increasingly seeking its news not from mainstream television networks or ink-on-dead-trees but from grazing online...We select the kind of news and opinions that we care most about. Nicholas Negroponte of M.I.T. has called this emerging news product The Daily Me. And if that's the trend, God save us from ourselves. That's because there's pretty good evidence that we generally don't truly want good information - but rather information that confirms our prejudices. We may believe intellectually in the clash of opinions, but in practice we like to embed ourselves in the reassuring womb of an echo chamber."
A lot of people who fit this narrow-minded category seemed to get up early in Seattle the last couple months to beat the P-I's dying horse. None of them read the paper, mind you, or subscribed, they boasted. But they all seemed to know a lot about it, particularly that "the left-wing rag" deserved its fate and the city was better off without it. They were convinced democracy is better served by less dissent - the ones who like to say they didn't fight in a war so people could burn the American flag, unaware that's exactly what they fought for. They're an army of one mind, commenting in lockstep, camouflaged by screen names.
"The decline of traditional news media will accelerate the rise of The Daily Me," Kristoff writes, "and we'll be irritated less by what we read and find our wisdom confirmed more often....perhaps the only way forward is for each of us to struggle on our own to work out intellectually with sparring partners whose views we deplore." Ah, but shut up! is so much easier.