opinion web
Liberal Opinion Conservative Opinion
Scott Rasmussen
Scott Rasmussen
17 Apr 2015
Election 2016 Is Not About the Candidates

This was a big week for the political press. That means it was also a good week for highlighting how the … Read More.

10 Apr 2015
Technology Will Trump the Bootleggers

In recent weeks, I've written about how the "Bootleggers and Baptists" dynamic corrupts regulatory politics. … Read More.

3 Apr 2015
GE and America's Corporate Bootleggers

I recently highlighted an important book that describes how politics really works. "Bootleggers and Baptists: … Read More.

Depressed Journalists Are Depressing Nation


I am far more pessimistic about our political system than most Americans. At the same time, I am very optimistic about the future of our nation. That may seem like an odd combination to some, but I am optimistic because I recognize that Washington, D.C., does not lead the nation.

National leadership flows from everyday Americans who work hard to support their families and build their communities. New technology is empowering them in amazing ways. Smartphone owners today have more information, entertainment and communications capability in the palm of their hands than the richest 1 percent enjoyed just a generation or two ago.

So, why is everyone so pessimistic?

Partly it's because our economy is going through a transition and transitions are tough. They create winners and losers. Even though the next generation will be better off because of the transition we are enduring, it's not a pleasant experience for many living through it.

However, the pessimism is overstated, and a big part of the blame comes from the fact that elite journalists are on the losing side of the digital revolution. For most Americans, the rise of new voices and new sources of information available whenever they want it is a great step forward.

For journalists, though, it has been a disaster. Newspapers, TV station audiences and jobs are all disappearing. This has a major impact on their worldview. In any industry, people who work at firms that are laying people off tend to believe the economy is struggling. Those who work at firms that are hiring tend to believe the economy is doing better.

So, for established journalists, the perception of the digital revolution is clouded by the fact that it destroyed their way of life.

They see negatives more than positives, and their reporting reflects this. Like an unhappy person who makes everyone around them miserable, journalists are spreading pessimism.

Importantly, the loss felt by journalists is about more than money. It's a loss of influence and prestige. Before the digital era, TV anchors and big-time newspaper reporters had a monopoly over news coverage that could not be challenged. Alternative views could not be heard, even when the journalists were wrong.

That came to an end just over a decade ago when Dan Rather reported a hit piece on President George W. Bush based upon fraudulent documents. Before the digital era, that story would likely have survived and might have even altered the 2004 election.

But in the new era, traditional journalists were no longer the only game in town. Bloggers did the fact-checking that CBS had failed to do. Eventually, the network had to pull the story and Rather was pushed out of the anchor chair. The legacy media outlets had lost their monopoly, and elite journalists have never recovered from the shock.

When the history of this era is written, this media transition will be hailed as a great success. Bloggers and the early citizen journalists will be seen as key players in breaking down privileged monopolies to democratize the news. The increased sharing of multiple perspectives and community vetting of stories will be seen as a great service to the nation.

That doesn't make it any easier for traditional journalists. But it's a reason for the rest of us to be more optimistic.

To find out more about Scott Rasmussen and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit




0 Comments | Post Comment
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right: comments policy
Scott Rasmussen
Apr. `15
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
29 30 31 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 1 2
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Marc Dion
Marc DionUpdated 27 Apr 2015
Mark Shields
Mark ShieldsUpdated 25 Apr 2015
Jamie Stiehm
Jamie StiehmUpdated 24 Apr 2015

13 Mar 2015 Supreme Court Will Never Decide Obamacare's Fate

21 Sep 2012 Romney May Be the End of the Line for the Republican Establishment

18 Apr 2014 The Numbers on the Health Care Law Are Still Bad for Democrats