I promised an opinion on Roy Ortega’s rant against non-MSM bloggers (via a blog, natch), but The Lion Star Blog has beat me to my talking points. Go read it.
Ortega, after slaying the local populace with a groundbreaking
Mainstream Media blog piece on KDBC being sold, segued into a flat-out paranoid rant on bloggers that, as we noted the other day, reminds us of journalists in the late 1990s realizing that they don’t control media — or for that matter, information — anymore.
Ortega adds to his bonafides (no, we don’t mean his late 1880s macho-moustache or his early 1950s parted hair, which may not be a combover), by posing for a picture on his blog with a video camera much as we’d like to pose next to Scarlett Johansson on a red carpet runway in Los Angeles.
And believe me, 4BP likes to pose.
So what’s up with Roy “Rag-Print” Ortega” these days? Well, he’s got this going for him:
–Mainstream Media bonafides. Check. And, apparently, check again, and again. We’re talking Old School checks. Linotype and paste-up checks. Some guy walking around the newsroom with a cart picking up typewritten stories to take down to the basement to have the LinoType operators input. Sending stuff over to the camera room to have “shot.” Rotary dial telephone. Check check check etc.
–Video. Check. Or, at least, a snuggle with a high-class camera.
–Attempt at being simultaneously snarky and disarming by making an old, too-tired joke about Al Gore inventing the Internet. Even the Internet is tired of that one. Multiple checkses.
Ortega, apparently feeling as fat, well-fed and happy as a tryptophan-engorged turkey eater, opines, “I love the fact that my own newspaper, the El Paso Times, has fully embraced the Internet.” Too bad he doesn’t love the spell- and grammar-check FAILs on the online version that accompany the dying circulation stats of his fish-wrap paper. Too bad he doesn’t embrace the sneering reaction from bloggers that he deserves from sneering at bloggers on a blog.
Sometimes, you just don’t get it until you get a schnozz full of it.
Now, it’s not that we don’t love fish-wrap. We, as coastal people temporarily displaced, like the smell of fish. It’s just that there is no good fish to be bought in this burg, in the middle of the desert. Much less be wrapped. And much, much less to be called a newspaper and delivered to our houses in the early a.m. (Yeah, we’re all in to Analogy-and-Metaphor World now, but who cares? It’s not like the boys burning the midnight oil at EPT will notice until Monday, or be aware of analogies and metaphors until, like, next February.)
Sidestory: About a year ago, a shill for the El Paso Times print edition wandered up to this high-class Upper Valley home (the one with the plastic-and-wood bench out front) and tried to sign us up for a subscription. We demurred. He warned — warned — us that he wouldn’t be coming around again to ask twice. How arrogant.
It was too hard — or comical — to explain to him that EPT is online (in all its Ortega-influenced glory) and the biggest, hottest stories that EPT covers hours or days late, can be accessed with a web browser on the consumer’s own time. It was also too hard to explain to the tennis-shoed sidewalker that EPT doesn’t really do a good job of covering news that people want to read. But that’s another rant for another time.
Ortega, between posing and poo-poohing, can also be found on KROD in the morning drive-time radio hours. KROD has a very strange web site, perhaps proving Ortega’s point. There are no biographies of the morning drive-time crew, especially that guy who stutters, hems, haws and uses the wrong words in the wrong places, over what should be prepared script. We can’t listen to the show long enough to remember his name, and in any event, we’d probably stutter, hem and haw it to death if we wrote it here. A punch of a button, and it’s a relief to listen to Mike and Mike in the Morning, just for their ability to speak properly.
Of more concern should be the convergence of information (there is the White Hacker’s axiom, explained later, and there is its anthesis, MSM) into a single point of dissemination: a newspaper, a radio station and a TV station have co-opted each other into some sort of federated information enterprise. Them that like it will argue for economy and efficiency, and them that know better will clearly see it as a hijacking of newer sources of information (radio, TV) by a desperate old one (print media).
KROD is the last place Ortega needs to market himself. In between the missed cues, the pregnant pauses, and the we-have-no-sense-of-timing missteps, Ortega attempts to dominate drive-time by speaking in a self-assured, mildly-accented local voice, filling us in on wanna-be backstories and The Real Story ™. He is well set-up by the radio station to provide answers, even when the scripting is so obvious you can just about hear everyone shuffling their paper scripts in the background.
But Ortega, and those who
think rant like him, misses the point that presentation style is part of a perception of competence. As the fish-wrap’s online edition fails the basics, and KROD’s verbal follies continue, so Ortega’s reputation falls.
One could get the more-or-less real story from a print edition of the El Paso Times, or the misspellings-as-sudoku game of what passes for ELPT’s online edition (bylines are often thankfully omitted); or by Ortega’s willingness to name the “media folks” who snarkily and anonymously write critical comments.
Any anonymous blogger would out the comment critic if he or she were a public figure. Half of all bloggers have to tools to trace who it is from their blogs’ control panels.
Ortega gets emotional, writing, “I IoveÂ the InternetÂ but IÂ hate what it is doing to traditional media.”
Hell, son (dad? grandad?), traditional media has done more to itself than the Internet ever did. All the Internet did was expose the corruption, lies, information-control, and self-aggrandizing of â€œtraditional mediaâ€ (whatever that is: modern people refer to it as Mainstream Media, or MSM). The Internet also effectively (and perhaps unintentionally) parodied MSM. If a newspaper edition has 20 spelling and 10 factual mistakes, a web site might have 200 and 100. If a reporter has an agenda, a blogger has an attitude. It’s just that bloggers don’t try to hide an agenda behind a veil of neutrality like MSM reporters do.
There is a white-hat hacker axiom: â€œInformation wants to be free.â€ Controlling and selling information, as Ortega espouses in his tepid defense of MSM, is so early 1990s.
I bet Ortega, perhaps most of all of the prominenti (aka, union-savvy, bylined old-timers) at the El Paso Times, would jump ship into Web 2.0 (if he knew what that was), because, as he finishes his rant, he seems to marginally comprehend what people have known for two decades: â€œNewspapers and TV newscasts are dying a slow death.â€
Lion Star, Refuse the Juice, Newspaper Tree and 4 Borders Pundit will be there for the wake. And I hope El Paso Fake News — or any of its rapidly-arriving offspring — delivers the eulogy.