This by-passing of the traditional media works just fine for an event such as the inauguration, when the inauguration team’s Twitter feed and blog provided fans with updates throughout the day. But when it comes to politics and the day-to-day workings of government, different issues arise with regards to ‘information’ direct from the source. It is essential to remember the vital role that traditional media has played for the past few hundred years as a intermediary between those in power and the masses: to provide an independent informed voice that can filter out the propaganda amongst the real news. Obviously news outlets have often had their own political agendas, but by seeking out more than one source for each story, the audience has generally had a pretty good chance to get a clear picture of what is going on.
This tendency to target the people directly, coupled with the fact that many news outlets are cutting back on reporting, particularly investigative reporting, could turn out to be worrying indeed. Increased transparency is all very well, but there is the danger, as CJR put it, that "direct democracy" could veer into "direct publicity," if an intelligent, informed journalistic voice which analyses and provides commentary is left out of the equation altogether. As new organisation created by newspaper executives to fight back against misrepresentation Newspaper Project commented, "newspapers remain essential to our democratic system of government, serving as a watchdog against crime and corruption, and a guide dog for information that allows the public to make informed decisions on the issues of the day." Is the Obama administration going to respect this long-standing function of traditional media?
Source: Columbia Journalism Review, New York Times