In tune with the Times

Today one of the nation’s premier talking heads, George Will, cynically indicted bloggers as self absorbed folks who seemed to think that people cared to read about their thoughts. This came after Time Magazine essentially cited bloggers as “person of the year.” I sometimes read Mr. Will’s column and it seems that what I write or any other blogger is no more or less self absorbed than what columnists like George write about. Earlier in the week Senator McCain expressed a somewhat similar reaction to blogs and bloggers. I think what we’re really witnessing is that electronic media of which blogs and bloggers are a part have circumvented the free press in much the same way that Gutenberg’s printing press liberated the world of it’s day. For the first time in recorded history we can read first person accounts and material that prior to now had to go through the prism of a newsroom somewhere before it could have any hope of publication. This must be quite disconcerting to the intellectuals and power brokers of our country and other countries around the world. There are to be sure irresponsible bloggers as there are irresponsible journalists in the more traditional media.

There is a real hunger and thirst for an unregulated media that reports or attempts to report on what is happening in the world around us without filtering it through their own prism. Much as I might like to think that I am not prejudicial it should be obvious to anyone that I clearly am. It is equally obvious to me and to nearly any thinking adult that all the major media outlets are largely biased. Some are conservative. Some are liberal and most of the outlets in the United States see the world through the prism of this country. The news we see and hear is managed, manipulated and sanitized for our consumption. Therefore blogs and bloggers clearly represent a threat to the status quo and are by their nature destabilizing. That is actually very empowering in the same way that the invention of the telegraph, telephone and television were. Televised images of the Vietnam war definitely influenced American public opinion of the war. Today, our news is sanitized so we don’t see the brutality of the current conflict, but blogs, bloggers, and technology like Youtube are changing that. The editors of Time are in tune therefore with the times.

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2 Replies to “In tune with the Times”

  1. Great post, Don. I agree so much. Ever since the first gulf war, (I was a freshman in college)with all of its minutely planned coverage of the same buildings getting blown up over and over, I haven’t trusted the “news.” I always ask myself what they are trying to sell me, or what they are trying to get me to think.

    One person’s power of personal publishing can make a big difference; I always think of the video of Rodney King – same period – that was a critical time in the formation of my media conscience 🙂

    Right now they haven’t figured out how to control and regulate the internets, so we are still free to have free speech here.

  2. *grin* Whenever I hear the argument that bloggers are self-absorbed folks who think others want to hear them, I wonder whether the author has really thought about their profession. Was Ms. Bronte “self-absorbed” when she wrote stories for her siblings? Mr. Tolkein when he wrote about “hobbits” for his children? Mr. Pohl and Mr. Asimov when they wrote for magazines with circulations of maybe a dozen people? Sister Hildegarde von Bingen when she wrote about the mystical experiences she had?

    Perhaps. Perhaps I am deluding myself that anyone cares to read about being the somewhat contemplative and spiritual pacifist daughter of a soldier. And yet, mine is a perspective that I haven’t seen in any of the major outlets. Noone is covering those of us who love someone “over there” but feel that this has been wrong from the start.

    And somehow, I feel that if I were to publish my thoughts on contemplative spirituality in any of the “regular” venues for such thought, I would have difficulty in my lifetime reaching agnostics, athiests, Catholics, Jews, Pagans, Quakers, and Episcopalians to name the folks whom I know to read what I write. And I would not receive nearly the level of feedback I currently get.

    *extra wide grin* I think I may have to blog about this.

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