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Posted: 2/26/2006 5:40:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/26/2006 5:42:07 PM EDT by ArmdLbrl]
Sunday, February 26, 2006
The tree of knowledge of good and evil

Daniel Harrison writing in Blogcritics.org describes the growing competitiveness of the blogs with mainstream media in certain respects.


Nowhere have such examples been more prescient recently than last week in the field of journalism, when two high-quality, equally highly acclaimed weblogs published well-written, erudite and startlingly professional pieces of investigative journalism.

The first piece to break waves was a thorough report on a terrorist training camp inside New York State founded by Sheik Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani, the Islamic cleric Daniel Pearl was attempting to interview when he was kidnapped. Daring, provocative, and written with the type of considerable elegance New York Times staffers would be envious of, The Politics of CP's "Jamaat ul-Fuqra Training Compound Inside the United States" was an admirable feat of journalism by the highest standards and even brought local insights and testimonies into the investigation, quoting one anonymous witness with catchy, breathtaking prose ...



Belmont Club readers will recall that both Gates of Vienna and the Politics of CP were involved in developing this story, which produced original investigative reporting and not a few nervous moments for the bloggers.

Vik Rubenfeld from The Big Picture has thoughts on unedited video as opposed to soundbite video.


These video interviews that Pajamas Media is doing are revolutionary. They're far more in-depth than the sound bites the networks hand out, and which MSM cherry-picks so as to bias the news in favor of their outdated and counterproductive preferred political policies. Astonishingly, interviews like those PJM is doing, make it possible for Congressmen to be seen and heard in some ways for the first time. ...

I was honestly surprised to see and hear these Congressmen speaking so well, so earnestly, and with so much of significance in what they said. It adds a lot to it to be able to see them. As soon as I saw these videos I realized that I'd been misled by a lifetime of listening to MSM's distortions, into thinking that all Congressmen were more or less blowhards who couldn't produce a straightforward, human, interesting thing to say.



Commentary

I'm not sure that in-depth blog reports or unedited video will ever have the mass appeal of slickly packaged print and video products which are simplified so that they can be digested at a glance or reduced into a single memorable soundbite. There's a real market in content-reduced information as the Reader's Digest well knew, and that segment will probably remain alive and well.

However, the low cost of entry into Internet publishing makes it possible for authors to create specialty publications which can effectively reach their audiences. Whether that's good or bad is the subject of debate. David Ignatius, writing in the Washington Post argues that unfiltered content, no longer moderated by the Gatekeepers, may be a dangerous and loose cannon.


So why does the world feel so chaotic? Why is there a growing sense that, as Francis Fukuyama put it in a provocative essay in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, "More democracy will mean more alienation, radicalization and -- yes, unfortunately -- terrorism"? ...

Charles M. McLean, who runs a trend-analysis company called Denver Research Group Inc. (I wrote a 2004 column called "Google With Judgment" that explained how his company samples thousands of online sources to assess where global opinion is heading.) I asked McLean last week if he could explain the latest explosion of rage in our connected world -- namely the violent Islamic reaction to Danish cartoon images of the prophet Muhammad.

McLean argues that the Internet is a "rage enabler." By providing instant, persistent, real-time stimuli, the new technology takes anger to a higher level. "Rage needs to be fed or stimulated continually to build or maintain it," he explains. The Internet provides that instantaneous, persistent poke in the eye. What's more, it provides an environment in which enraged people can gather at cause-centered Web sites and make themselves even angrier. The technology, McLean notes, "eliminates the opportunity for filtering or rage-dissipating communications to intrude." I think McLean is right.



What do you think?


posted by wretchard at 4:35 PM | 15 comments
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