As media conglomeration
continues to put more power into the hands of fewer publishers and broadcasters controlling more and more outlets, the existence of the internet as the one true democratic communications technology (so far) may be our only hope to ever know the truth about world and local events.
As if the media giants don't already control the major portion of our daily media consumption, the FCC is reviewing ownership rules and is expected to soon loosen them allowing media companies to grow bigger than ever. I fear we are headed for a Fahrenheit 451
-sci-fi kind of dualistic society — one of fat, flag waving hypnotized couch potatoes addicted to a media diet of scintillating "reality" programming, eye candy and hyped up violent sports on one side, and those of us who can still use our brains to have an independent thought and form an opinion based on interpreting raw information through personal experience on the other. In such a future only wired folk educated with the skills and curiousity to seek it will have access to free thinking, open discussion and anything resembling the truth through web sites, email, and blogs. Major media outlets will continue to manufacture news to fit the needs and fears of a super capitalist, might-makes-right culture.
The internet's democratization of technology does for the many what the printing press did for the one, the few. A journalist named A. J. Liebling
once said: "The freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." Internet technology and clever software have lowered the barriers of entry to being a publisher — the many now have the tools of production. The internet may be the last bastion of free speech (unless sweeping anti-terrorist, red-white-and-blue, Patriot Act-style legislation gives the feds the power to shut down these outlets willy nilly). And while the collection of personal web sites, instant messaging and blathering blogs certainly carry their share of scathing, ranting, superfluous junk, there are pearls among the swine. And thanks to great internet tools like Day Pop, Plastic, News Is Free to name a few, there are ways to sort through the junk heap — as I mentioned in an earlier rant, the technology helps "the good stuff rise to the top." (Such as Peking Duck
, for instance.) Witness the role the power of blogs played recently in the downfall of Trent Lott
... the many would not let the few media outlets ignore the story. That's democratic! Visit Daypop
on a given day and you'll get an idea of what people are talking about on blogs and how the important issues, the truth, can't help but rise to the surface.
Blogs put the power of the press into the hands of the people. Since the revolution will not be televised, better get your blog up.
Note: With all respects to Gill Scott-Heron. Click here to view full lyrics to The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.
Note: For an excellent collection of reports and analysis on media conglomeration, see PBS' Online NewsHour, the web site of The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, for Merging Media, How relaxing FCC ownership rules has affected the media business.
Note: Some stuff that won't be televised... This Interview with Kurt Vonnegut
...This cartoon strip called Get Your War On...
this blog called Media Whores Online
... these terrific animated political cartoons by Mark Fiore.
Note: As I was preparing this blog, I learned about the Space Shuttle Columbia accident... ... at 9:26 a.m.... on a blog (via a CNN report)... (Instapundit
, "The New York Times of the Bloggers")... before the networks, before NPR. (RIP)