Jewish World Review Sept. 27, 2004 / 12 Tishrei, 5765

Joe Scarborough

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Big media is getting a crash course on the market | Elite media outlets like CBS News have long enjoyed a mere monopoly when it came to dishing out news to you, the American public. But this information oligarchy was broken up by Rush Limbaugh's emergence in 1988, Matt Drudge's debut in the late 1990s — you remember that? — and cable news' explosion at the turn of the century. And you know what, the results have been deadly for Dan Rather and his ilk.

Now bloggers in pajamas are serving as feisty fact-checkers for the fat and happy who were once protected in their ivory towers on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Today, though, we hear of an affiliate dropping CBS News and ratings plummeting for Dan Rather in the media capital of the world. Maybe it's because viewers have been finally given a choice on where they get their news. And that choice is the most liberating development in modern media history.

But you know what, like aging Soviet generals, media elites and cultural snobs still long for the oppressive days before the information explosion rocked their world. I remember my political science professor at the University of Alabama telling me that Kremlin generals were more worried about the development of the Xerox machine than any long-range ballistic missiles.

And now, I suspect that Dan Rather and his left-wing producer recognize that their fate may have already been sealed by Internet bloggers, Rush Limbaugh and cable news shows like this one. The free market has invaded big media. And while the results may be frightening for Dan Rather and the old guard, they're very liberating for the rest of us and they have helped an explosion of ideas in the free marketplace of ideas. That's great news for everybody.

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Former Congressman Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) hosts “Scarborough Country,” 10 p.m. ET, weeknights on MSNBC. He is the author of the recently published "Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day : The Real Deal on How Politicians, Bureaucrats, and Other Washington Barbarians are Bankrupting America". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)Comment by clicking here.

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