"The complacency stems from having enjoyed a monopoly--and now finding they have to compete for an audience they once took for granted. The condescension that many show their readers is an even bigger problem. It takes no special genius to point out that if you are contemptuous of your customers, you are going to have a hard time getting them to buy your product [or listen to what you have to say]. Newspapers are no exception." ~ Rupert Murdoch
And neither are academics. Some folks will never learn.
Murdoch makes some very salient points and ones which all who disseminate information ignore at their own peril. Many of his observations and criticisms would apply equally to academia. For example:
"A recent American study reported that many editors and reporters simply do not trust their readers to make good decisions. Let's be clear about what this means. This is a polite way of saying that these editors and reporters think their readers are too stupid to think for themselves."
The parallel between the "establishment" of higher learning and the mainstream media is somewhat striking, though nothing new. Others (including yours truly) have made note of this condescension before. But Murdoch is a bullhorn when speaking, so folks tend to pay a little more attention to his proclamations.
There will ultimately be one of two reactions to this landscape:
One: the establishment will humble themselves, face reality, wise up, adapt, and compete honestly.
Two: They will attempt to shut down other means of information that do not fit their template. This will come about by attempts to marginalize and silence those outside the establishment, i.e. bloggers, non-academics, alternate news sources, talk-radio, etc, etc.
Also, since both academia and the mainstream media are connected at the hip to various government agencies (Big Brother), they will also use the power of the government to these ends. There's already indications that this is underway. I would call to your attention my previous post regarding John Hopkins' decision to no longer allow the SCV access--after 20 years of doing so-- to any of their facilities simply because they are a "Confederate" organization; even though these events have included other patriotic organizations as well, such as the Sons of Union Veterans. As I suspected, none of my readers who are part of academia see anything wrong with that, or at least they aren't willing to say so. Gotta keep those speaking invitations coming I suppose. Of course, I wasn't surprised.
I believe option #2 above will be the choice of most. After all, many of those to whom Murdoch directed his criticism (as well as those in academia), have been raised in an era of a dumbed-down, statist dominated educational system and, as statists (whether consciously or not), they don't understand the dynamics of liberty and freedom. Though they may see initial success in their efforts, history proves that their efforts will utlimately fail. I hope I live to see it.
God has certainly allowed us to live in interesting times.