Day By Day

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

Bruce Bartlett has given up punditry. His farewell says it all. He writes:

[T]he demand for traditional column writing has pretty much dried up, just as the demand for buggy whips collapsed when the automobile came along. I don't mourn the old system. I am a great fan of bloggers and learn far more from them than I do from the Broders and Friedmans of the world, who have largely become irrelevant to serious political discussion.

Furthermore, the basic medium through which columnists operate -- newspapers -- are dying a slow death. It's a rare week when some major paper doesn't announce new layoffs, buyouts or other severe cost-cutting measures, such as reducing the size of the paper to save on costly newsprint, as The New York Times will do next month. At some point, the bloodletting will end, but not before many more papers fold. Eventually, we will probably be left with a handful of national papers, with all the rest devoted exclusively to local news.

Broadcasters are under the same pressures, and I suspect that the traditional nightly network news program will eventually go the way of the dodo. Those who care about the news will get it from cable, the Internet or talk radio.

I think there will always be a market for quality commentary, however, and some day someone will figure out a better way to make money from it. In the meantime, I have decided to devote myself to writing books, where authors still have control over their output and can make better money. I will continue to pen the occasional column, but this is the last one I plan to write on a weekly basis. I offer thanks to all my readers and editors for their support.

Good luck, guy. It's a brave new world out there.

Read the whole thing here.

Many people have wondered just why, in a time of unprecedented prosperity and opportunity, not just in America but around the globe, so many people have a pessimistic view of things. This has to be one of the reasons -- the purveyors of opinion in our major media are in precipitous decline and their frustration and fear is communicated to everyone who still reads those newspaper things or listens to the dinosaur networks. These are the best of times, but for the establishment media these are the worst of times and they are trying with some success to suck the rest of us into their morbid maelstrom of gloom.

For a retro look into the future of punditry go here. The Strib, much as I disagree with their editorial slant, understands that the old practices are doomed and are listening to the best talent in the business as they adjust their business model. Another good example is the Atlantic, which supports this.

Some just can't get their heads around this bloggery thing. Check out, for instance, the insufferable condescension that oozes from Times' Swampland [the title tells all you need to know about their attitude toward bloggery] and the New Republic's Open University [pay attention students, your betters are about to instruct you]. These are people who, deep in their hearts, know that they are way smarter than you will ever be, and want you to know that they are slumming only because their editorial overlords told them to write something for "the blog."

On the other hand, some people have got it just right. For now the best bloggery emanating from the old opinion elites comes from the National Review. Check out their blog row, especially the Corner.