Accurate Information from the Mainstream Media

All strategy, like all economics, is based on information. The more accurate your information, the better the various techniques of strategy work, but strategy assumes that everyone's information is incomplete. The biggest change affecting strategy in the recent years is the new access to information afforded by the Internet. For most of my life, I had to depend on mainstream media reporting about conditions in the larger environment. In the last several years, we all have begun discovering how flawed and incomplete the view provided by MSM is. Just this morning, a reporter on Fox News was saying that we have never seen oil prices above $70 a barrel before. I wondered if that was true and within seconds found this article and chart showing that oil prices in the 70s peaked at over $98 a barrel, adjusted for inflation. The scare tactic is disarmed and I bet the reporter was hearing about his misstatement within a few moments of making it. Another example for anyone who wants to know what is happening on the ground in Iraq is the contrast between the MSM's hotel room view versus Michael Yon's gripping first person reporting from the battlefield itself via the web and blogging. This access to information just didn't exist twenty years ago, when alternative media was usually more off-based, not more accurate. In the new world of media, we need the MSM to provide not the news story, but its larger context. As long as the MSM focuses on hyping the news "for ratings" it will continue to lose credibility and the ratings war. As much as I hated all the reporting from Aruba about Natalee Holloway, no one can say that Fox News didn't offer the complete context for the story and their ratings proved that there is an audience for context. If the MSM can get away from their political axe-grinding (Cindy Sheehan, anyone?) and actually get into the depth of breaking news, they will serve an important role in the future.