There’s a degree of credentialist snobbery about Canadian “think tanks” that’s particularly irksome, and now Denyse O’Leary offers up another instance, via email:
Yesterday, I applied for media credentials to the upcoming Manning Conference, “The Way Forward.” I said I was especially interested in the euthanasia workshop, in view of the recent Supreme Court decision.
Here is the response I received.
Thanks very much for writing. I hope you’ll understand that given the media interest in the event and given the proliferation of blogs and bloggers we unfortunately need to reserve media accreditation for what would be termed traditional media. We certainly hope you will choose to attend as a regular registrant. Thanks for understanding.
[guy in charge of media cred I am too classy to call out by name – but I have the e-mail trail. – d.]
At first, I was just too flummoxed to know what to say. My reaction came in three stages:
1. I make a living (!) writing almost entirely for the Internet, and it isn’t lonely out here. Over a thousand people a day probably view my work, using stats I can track. Which is far more people than have ever read me on “traditional media.”
2. I mustn’t make a scene. It is divisive. Maybe it is my own fault for not selling myself harder.
I might have mentioned that I was one of Canada’s earliest anti-euthanasia activists, a result of a brush with the euthanasia movement at the time. But that was over forty years ago, and the information isn’t online. (Some would remember me though.)
So back to my endless stream of online assignments. One more meeting I don’t have to go to. (The suggested registration fees seem designed to keep people out and I could not even find an option to pay to attend just a single workshop.)
3. But something felt wrong about my second response. I couldn’t sleep …
True, I could have sold myself harder. But it is NOT as though that guy wrote back to say “You might not be a big enough blogger. Tell me your post reach.”
No, he said that this Way Forward conference wants to favour the Way Backward traditional media! Who hate their guts anyway and will do whatever they can to smear them. Maybe even Make Stuff Up.
And he insulted bloggers, many of whom have paid a price for exposing traditional media’s coziness with destructive forces.
At several sites I write for, I track the slow, agonizing death of traditional media. See, just for example, Will our elders be left behind with dying media?
Traditional media are losing the ability to provide serious news. Brian Williams-style scandals are becoming a feature, not a bug. It’s not even Shattered Glass any more, just the new normal.
The last estimator on a job at my house told me that almost no one else in his j-school graduation class was still in the business. So who is? Old-timers hanging in for retirement, career progressives, and fabulists are probably more numerous now.
I sense that this is not about me anyway. It is about a decades-old pattern:
Time and again, traditional values movements get taken over by misguided and uninformed prigs (MUPs). They take people’s hard-earned money while leading them into the wilderness. Those people find out later when they are stranded, then blamed for their “failures.”
After forty years, maybe I should say something. So I will:
The guy in charge of qualifying media for the Manning conference lacks the key qualification for the job:
Understanding what is happening in media and adjusting his expectations to it .