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Jeff Jarvis: All Too Human

Craig also posts in disagreement with Jeff Jarvis, who characterizes the outcome of the CBS Reagans controversy as mob rule. Craig's response is correct:

Jarvis acts as though only the mob can censor or restrict programming. He is not that naive. Networks and studios make decisions everyday that shape what we see on TV. One reason conservatives were angry is that they knew CBS or Miramax will never fund a Clinton mini-series that is as shoddy, exploitive and dishonest as the Reagan drama. No one is going to base a prime time movie on Gary Aldrich's book or The American Spectator's reporting.

There's more here, though, and I think it indicates an importance in remembering that folks like Jeff Jarvis are old-media types dabbling in — and differentiating themselves using — new media. In this case, Jarvis is showing himself to be all too human by expressing some objection when the "mob" makes decisions with which he personally disagrees. It is very easy, of course, to make appeals to the wisdom of the masses when the masses' conclusion is equivalent to one's own.

Back in February, Jarvis complained about interest groups' expressing concern that media consolidation would lead to further corrosion of television content into debauchery by writing:

Let's get this straight: Sex sells. Sex is fun. Sex is good.
Gotta problem with that? Then you're the freak, geek.

At the time, I wondered how a self-proclaimed populist could have a problem with keeping media as localized as possible, supporting, instead, consolidated media corporations through which a few could dictate the free-TV content for the entire nation. Indeed, I turned a Jarvis comment from last November in order to illustrate this human tendency to agree with agreement even at the expense of consistency, and that comment applies even more directly to the issue at hand. In November 2002, Jarvis wrote:

Simply put: If you don't innately trust the aggregate intelligence, taste, and morality of the people, then you do not, you cannot believe in democracy or capitalism.

Unless, I suppose, the "aggregate intelligence, taste, and morality of the people" involves furor over the blatant falsehood of a purported "biopic" about a conservative President.

Posted by Justin Katz @ 09:24 AM EST