Blogs, media, and the gullible American public

An interesting USA today article caught my eye from a few days ago:
Freewheeling ‘bloggers’ are rewriting rules of journalism

Please read it first, form your opinion, and then come on back here and read what I think… let’s discuss this as I’m interested in your thoughts.

Eric thinks…
It’s about change. Or more to the point, how technology is changing the rules on how the games are played. It’s a by-product of the American media failing to inform us, as we have to turn to outside international sources to know “what’s REALLY going on”.

It makes me wonder how much faster it would have expedited Watergate, or changed our views on Oliver North, John Poindexter and other “heroes” of the Iran/Contra scandal, or Reagan’s conroversial remarks at Bitburg. Surely it arrived in time at the tail end of the Clinton/Monica scandal (which could have saved Ken Starr a small fortune of the taxpayer’s money.) And it would have been a great laugh to see rightwing pundits criticize Clinton’s air strike on Osama bin Laden, calling it a “distraction from Monica”, and be able to throw 9/11 in their face three years later (if they were stupid enough to keep it in their archives).

While it’s true, I think Blogland played a major part in the Trent Lott fiasco becoming a (rightfully) bigger issue than it would have normally been…

… I still think bloggers shouldn’t let this new-found power go to their heads though. Blogs are just what it is… a one-sided perspective of the writer’s opinions. It’s not “Facts” or “Gospel Truth”. Don’t flatter yourselves.

It’s op-ed columns, not “objective journalism”. There’s a difference. There is still the need to use legitimate news articles to link to and form opinions. Weblogs are not going to replace news sources… but maybe this will help journalists and editors of the “liberal media” find their balls again.

It will play a large part for Washington, and its out of touch politicians to get an idea of what the people think, and it will change the way campaigners will “play the game” in order to get elected. To me, this article read as a “wake-up call” to folks like Karl Rove and Joe Trippi.

What will it do for our policies? Nothing much. Bloggers will never have the contol over Capitol Hill like lobbyists will. The worldwide protest and outrage against going to war in Iraq is evidence that “money talks”, and that’s the only language that the New World Order understands.

(Update: It appears L.A. City Beat seems to agree with my assessment too.)

Like Trent Lott, bloggers will make sure the Nigerian YellowCake/Valerie Plame fiasco won’t just fade away either.

And much like our administration’s need to operate in secrecy, rule through irrational fear of a faceless enemy, bully the media, and keep the public from asking “why?”… bloggers with alternative views still have internet bullies like The InstaPutz and his followers to keep them in line.

Ask Electric Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow. (InstaPutz post)

Let the bloodshed begin…
Like I said, either way I win. :0)

Eric Brooks

Musician, Programmer, Graphic Designer, Evil Clown - A thorn in the Internet's side since 1997 with no intention of stopping any time soon.

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5 thoughts on “Blogs, media, and the gullible American public

  1. you know what I think? We’ll eventually keep them more honest. We see through the media bs and they know we know.

    Eventually there’ll be some thought put into what the media is shoving down our throats….they’ll get sick of *the little people* bitch slapping them down with fact.

    I doubt web logs will ever be more than just one blogger’s opinion. I get ptetty disgusted by the *elite* bloggers who act as if they know what they’re doing.

    It’s like Mom always told me, if you say it like you mean it, if you say it like it’s fact…people will buy it, hook, line and sinker…because you sound smarter than maybe you really are.

  2. … and if you say it over and over, people will accept it as fact.

    I learned that in Propaganda 101.

  3. I’ve been thinking about this post for a few days now.

    Corporations ruined the media. If the media of the Watergate era were controlled by the huge conglomerates that control the major networks and the cable news channels of today, Watergate would have been treated much like the current war has been treated, i.e. sweeping it under the rug. Modern news is all about packaging and ratings and things like that and not reporting the news. It’s about the almighty dollar.

    I seriously doubt that the Washington Post of today would have the balls to run Woodward’s Watergate story. I was two years old when Watergate happened and four years old when Nixon resigned, but I get the impression that journalism back then was actually about reporting news and telling us what we have the right to know.

    News is no longer about news. It’s about money. The idealist in me hopes that bloggers as journalists will give mainstream news outlets the kick in the ass it so desperately needs, but the realist in me says it won’t happen.

  4. Bloggers 2003-2004 = pamphletteers 1775-1787.

    Short and pithy enough? 😉

    Actually, Drudge broke the Lewinsky story, if you remember, so it began about 1998.

  5. The idealist in me hopes that bloggers as journalists will give mainstream news outlets the kick in the ass it so desperately needs, but the realist in me says it won’t happen.

    Nope… you got it right with:
    Modern news is all about packaging and ratings and things like that and not reporting the news. It’s about the almighty dollar.

    Did you ever wonder why September 11th coverage went “commercial-free” after a few hours on TV? It was because all of the advertisers pulled their ads.

    When the deadline Bush gave Saddam was up, we got phone calls and faxes from all our clients to pull their ads from tomorrow’s paper.

    They didn’t want their ad sitting there in case (God forbid) our troops were slaughtered or Israel was nuked.

    When JFK was assasinated, one company got so many “how could you think of selling at a time like this???” complaints from customers, they had to put out a full-page apology in the Washington Post.

    As far as bloggers… well, it’s easy to be ballsy when no one can reach you.

    In my case, I was asked to “be careful what I say” about a certain corrupt individual by my publisher. Though I was very careful, I decided it was best to pull the three posts…

    This guy’s lawyers have tried to sue the paper a number of times (even targeted my department in one of them), and would probably go after me personally…

    …and there would be nothing the paper can do to help.

    Not that I have anything valuable to be sued for… but it just made for a very sticky situation. And I don’t think your average blogger wants to find themselves in that spot without a high-powered corporate attorney.

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