Out of Print
It's the strangest profile of a news company that I've ever read... but it's also the best recent attempt at historicizing this particular moment in media history: "Out of Print," The New Yorker. Ostensibly a profile of The Huffington Post (which surpassed Drudge in unique audience this month), this monster rambles through everything from complex newspaper economics to that Simpsons "Your medium is dying" clip -- my pal Jonah Peretti even gets his "mullet strategy" theory tossed into the mix. The author, Eric Alterman, has never impressed me in the past -- he's been obtuse, lacking in nuance. So why do I find this piece so important? Because the opposition it sets up between Walter Lippmann and John Dewey, which is difficult to parse but ultimately worth the effort, is the most honest historical opposition anyone has come up with so far to describe this moment. The Left really has refused to acknowledge the inherent elitism of the Lippmann model, and now it's paying the price. The entire conflict we're facing right now arises from the return of the repressed: Dewey's conversational model of media. However, a small quibble with the story: How about some analysis of the potentially elitist celeb-blogger model that is The Huff Post itself?