In his analysis of the Gen. McChrystal story, New York Times media columnist and blogger David Carr cites an idea of mine.

“Author and media thinker William Powers once described a fact of contemporary media life, something called “Did You See?” meaning we are all commenting and annotating some piece of news, but when you get right down to it, nobody has actually read the darn thing.”

To elaborate: In the old media days, when there were just a handful powerful outlets, you could assume others were not just familiar with major news stories of the day but had personally read, heard or watched those stories.  Today, when there is no news organ that everyone follows, and nobody has time to track anything in depth, that assumption no longer holds.

The only news outlet we all share in common is “Did You See?”  As in, “Did you see what happened to that general?”

Carr’s full piece is here.