Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The New Media

The New Media has great power. The fact that everyone, with cheap digital technology, can be a "reporter", or at least a chronicler of events in near real-time and get worldwide distribution for those who wish to look, is changing the world.

The Memory Hole of Orwell's Big Brother was slain by the internet.

As Wretchard has written,
The protester might have been on radio talk-show, while being snapped by photojournalists, who were in turn memorialized by citizens, one at least of whom was a blogger. The issue that interests Micklethwait is what happens in a communications-dense environment where everyone is potentially wired to everyone else, where everyone is a node on a graph. He has come to one conclusion: at the very least a wired society makes it harder for government to simply make things go away.
For example, "zombie", a photographer who posts frequently on LGF to expose the "story behind the story" at many political protests, has another interesting expose up that reveals how the MSM can slant the story no more:
The San Francisco Chronicle featured the original photograph on its front page in order to convey a positive message about the rally -- perhaps that even politically aware teenagers were inspired to show up and rally for peace, sporting the message, "People of Color say 'No to War!'" And that served the Chronicle's agenda.

But this simple analysis reveals the very subtle but insidious type of bias that occurs in the media all the time. The Chronicle did not print an inaccuracy, nor did it doctor a photograph to misrepresent the facts. Instead, the Chronicle committed the sin of omission: it told you the truth, but it didn't tell you the whole truth.

Because the whole truth -- that the girl was part of a group of naive teenagers recruited by Communist activists to wear terrorist-style bandannas and carry Palestinian flags and obscene placards -- is disturbing, and doesn't conform to the narrative that the Chronicle is trying to promote. By presenting the photo out of context, and only showing the one image that suits its purpose, the Chronicle is intentionally manipulating the reader's impression of the rally, and the rally's intent.

Such tactics -- in the no-man's-land between ethical and unethical -- are commonplace in the media, and have been for decades. It is only now, with the advent of citizen journalism, that we can at last begin to see the whole story and realize that the public has been manipulated like this all along.
Make sure to see his whole photo-essay, Anatomy of a Photograph, to see for yourself!

But there is a darkside, as Wretchard elaborates,
I argued in the previous post on precision strikes against insurgents that within the context of our technological capabilities, information alone can kill. All the other stuff -- bombers, JDAMs, etc -- is already out there. Add information on the location of the Emir of Qaim and an emergent phenomenon comes into being: the precision strike. A new thing came out of the old things, which is not one of the old things but a consequence of their interaction.

Consider another example. Proposition. If you pump out enough hate ideas for long enough, two aircraft will materialize out of the clear blue over Manhattan and carry out the fantasy. Once again, in our affluent world, the materials were all to hand. All they needed was an idea with enough time to germinate to turn it into reality.

I've long suspected that some of the more disgusting perversions now reaching epidemic proportions have actually been created by some idea, formerly confined to the skulls of a few individuals, which are now free to propagate over the Internet and cross-fertilize with other memes to produce God knows what abomination.

If you think it, it will come.
This is particularly disturbing when one considers not only the people who eat roadkill, but the rest of their neo-Unabomber eco-primitivist ilk such as the self-proclaimed Species Traitors, the Coalition Against Civilization, and those who Visualize Industrial Collapse. From their own flyer,
Species traitor exists as a forum for spreading and developing theories and practical means to bring about the destruction of civilization and defend what wilderness remains. We feel that now more than ever, there is a need for a viable alternative to the mass death culture, and hope to widen the range of information available.

This cannot be clear enough, we embrace the goal of moving beyond civilization and will not settle for reform on any level.
Meanwhile, a disgraced Dan Rather weeps,
I think it's fair to say and again I just speak for myself but I believe it to be true of CBS and I think it was true of a lot of news organizations, unaware or not knowing enough of how quickly bloggers could strike.
Get used to it.


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