The Fallacy of “Internet” Worship When It Comes to News

This latest Zogby poll, via the indefatigable Mark Potts:

The survey discovered 56 percent of adults nationwide would pick the Internet if they were allowed just one source for their news, while television, newspapers and radio earned the support of 41 percent – together.

Among Republicans, 56 percent would choose the Internet for their news, while among Democrats that figure was 50 percent. Seventeen percent of Democrats said they would prefer newspapers as their only news source while 5 percent of Republicans made that choice.

The partisan split is intriguing, although I’d bet that NPR proclivity accounts for much of the difference.  But I still continue to be most amused/befuddled by the terminology:  “the internet” never met a deadline or filed a story.  Broadcast tends to produce its own content; “the internet” is simply a transport mechanism (as often than not, for newspaper content).  When the responses of those surveyed produce the following result:

It also shows only 1 in 200 people surveyed believes newspapers will be a dominant source of information in 2014.

I wonder how many of them realize how much of the content they are reading “on the internet” actually emanate from newspaper stories.

This reminds me a little–actually, a lot–of the 1996-2002 time frame when the investment banking and venture communities talked about “internet businesses.”   And yes, there were a few of those which literally could never have existed sans ARPANet and what followed.  But for the most part, the web is simply the very most powerful, low-cost transmission vehicle ever invented.   Another channel of distribution, if you will, but far from”just another” channel of distribution.  Just as in e commerce, the winners in e publishing are those who optimize their cost structures and business processes for a world of exceedingly low-cost distribution.  Would you ever say that an important source of your kids’ upbringing is the U.S. Interstate Highway system, because that’s the conduit you travel to see the grandparents?  What do I know; maybe you would.  But I doubt it.

And I’ll say it again, because what rests behind the end points matters a great deal:  “the internet” never filed a story nor met a deadline.  Just like I-35 never carved a turkey on Thanksgiving or gave you socks for Christmas.  Zero-cost replication and distribution are a given; it’s what’s behind the door Grandma’s house that matters.

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One Response to The Fallacy of “Internet” Worship When It Comes to News

  1. […] The Fallacy of “Internet” Worship When It Comes to News « Insomniactive […]

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