When technology advances to the point where the consumers have access to the product, they always jettison the middleman.
The internet has made it possible for all interested parties to see the documents for themselves. “Fact-checking” is an obsolete concept. The editor is a dead job. Put the documents on the web and the market will correct the errors.
This is not a fad. It is not reversable. It is, to use an over-used phrase which really does apply here — it is a PARADIGM SHIFT. In all paradigm shifts, the old school never updates; it always just dies off. The new structure simply shoots up and replaces them, and they all die away, mumbling on their deathbeds about the new magic and the way things used to be.
The traditional news organization controls quality by a central command (an editor). That is better than anarchy, and a necessary first step until the technology appears to allow a MARKET to develop. In a market, many parties gather to decide value by a vetting process involving the aggregate skill of all parties. In an economic market, that value gets translated into a PRICE, which price theoretically carries with it all relelvant information and thus give every party an instant ability to avoid errors.
The efficiency of any market is exponentially greater then any command structure. That is why global capitalism buried Soviet communism and continues to bury collectivist economies. (A process I’m sure still puzzles Dan Rather.)
So the efficiency of an idea market (like the internet) will be EXPONENTIALLY greater than the Old Media’s ponderous structure. That is why the internet took 12 hours to completely debunk these documents, and why the huge, ossified news orgs like the NYT will cover the same ground in days or weeks.
It’s why they are so skeptical that such expertise could have been available so quickly — in their model, it would have taken days to find such expertise.
The editor is a dead job, as dead as the Commissioner of Price Setting in the Soviet Union. That they don’t get it YET is the amazing thing.
There is a connection deeper than accidental between the conservative temperament and the new cybermedia, and a reason deeper than journalism for the left’s discomfort with the new cybermedia. It is a competition between a centralized control structure (the Old Media) and a laizze-fair structure (The cybershere).
Each structure has an error correcting mechanism, but they are very different. A useful parallel is the competition between a Soviet-style economy and the US economy.
Error correction in the OM is by an editor. Most importantly, all information stays secret until the editor approves its veracity. Similarly, in a central economy, the apparatchnik (theoretically) looks at all information and then places value on every good and service, which value is then transmitted down to the peons.
In contrast to that, in an open economy the PRICE carries all the information around to all parties, and every consumer has full information instantly available to him with need of an intermediary. So, in the cybermedia, there is no editor and all information is passed around openly. Crucially, there is no NEED FOR AN EDITOR IF ERRORS HAPPEN OPENLY, and are subject to review by all players. This open process finds a way to place a value on every supposed bit of info, just like the marketplace places a price on goods and services in a free economy.
The OM keeps screaming that that the lack of an editor is the horrid weakness of the internet process. They don’t understand that the lack of an editor IS the new paradigm, the lack of an editor is THE STRENGTH of the cybermedia, and that the error correction method is the OPENNESS of the process.
The loudest screamers in the OM are the folks who never understood why the Soviet economy fell.
All this means that the death of the OM is certain, just as certain as the inevitable triumph of capitalism over communism. And the left hates the New Media because it removes any need for an intermediary, which offends their paternalistic genes.