Tuesday, October 31, 2006
BY EMILY METZGAR
Louisiana's growing alternative online news and commentary environment has attracted a lot of attention from the state's more traditional media in recent weeks.
Nowhere else in this country is there comparable deference for the status quo in the traditional media despite dramatic evidence of failure. Nowhere else is there such a void of accountability. Other states have far stronger traditions of accountability, upheld by the media and even encouraged by participants in the political system.
But not in Louisiana where members of the media and the political establishment are upset about the disruptive possibilities of the state's developing online environment. They feel threatened because numerous online voices are stepping into a breach left empty by longtime defenders and benefactors of the Louisiana status quo.
The state's online environment just might offer a way to finally break into Louisiana's destructive pro-status quo echo chamber whose only message is that all is well, despite all evidence to the contrary.
Just imagine what the concept of accountability could do for Louisiana. In some states there are actually consequences for dismal public policy indicators, poor stewardship of public funds, flawed decision-making and repeated allegations of corruption. In some states, it doesn't take the depopulation of the state's most populous city to spark discussion about the need for government reform.
And in some states, the media actually lead reform efforts before a moment of crisis arrives.