Marc Andreessen on tech and the media

From an interview with Ben Thompson of Stratechery:

“For all the issues with tech and tech media, it’s just a minor sub-segment of this broader shift in how media works and in how public discourse works in public opinion formation and public debate happens. That media landscape I would argue has been changing for a very long time, it’s certainly been going through a high rate of change, I would argue even pre the Internet with the arrival of talk radio and then cable television. But certainly the Internet has accelerated that change so I think the whole landscape is changing.

There’s this endless tension on the media side: if you ask journalists what their mission in life is, they’ll basically usually tell you two things, which is to objectively report the truth number one, and then number two, speak truth to power. Or they sometimes say, “Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” There’s an inherent tension between those two poles because are you trying to equally represent all sides or are you trying to specifically take a stand, presumably on behalf of the people against power? I would characterize it as the entire media broadly is trying to navigate its way through that question of goals and then trying to navigate its way through what have been profound changes in technology in the media landscape.

A lot of those changes have been caused by tech. Like I say, we in many ways are the dog that caught the bus in this industry, which is we did cause some of these changes to happen. So those changes, the system has to work through those changes. Does the system ever stabilize ever again in the same way that it had in the 1950s or 1960s? I think probably not and so as a consequence, I think the whole landscape probably will stay unsettled for a very long time. I don’t know what it’ll look like in a decade, but I think people like me are going to have to adapt just like everybody else.”

2 Replies to “Marc Andreessen on tech and the media”

  1. @mathewi Ben Thompson’s response is telling: That was very gracious to the media, and it helps that I agree with you. I wrote an article called Never-Ending Niches where I just casually lumped myself in with the New York Times as a, “We’re all on the same plane”. And that was a low level — what would Tyler Cowens say? — the Straussian reading of that piece, but I think it is the reality on the Internet, everything is equal for better or worse when it comes to consumer attention

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