In areas with little in the way of communication, many less-than-100%-reliable witnesses (which is every witness), and with a 24 hour news cycle, what happens is this: Journalists say things that aren’t true.
It’s shocking — it’s downright obscene — that journalists acting as self-appointed nannies censored New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s angry speech demanding help for his city. The New York Times did it. TV did it. Journalists charged with reporting accurately bleeped “ass” and “goddamn” and they wouldn’t let him say “BS.” That is bullshit.
Excerpt from a personal diary written by a friend who’s a news cameraman working in New Orleans. Name and affiliation withheld by request. This was written on Sunday, September 4th, six days after the storm hit.
New Orleans - The Real Story
It’s September 4th in New Orleans, and unfortunately no one is getting it right, not the Feds, the State, the Local folks or the media. I’m sure that many people are trying, but for what ever reason it is a rotting, deteriorating mess.
There is a communications revolution happening right now. It crosses generations, and it scares the absolute shit out of a lot of people who benefit from ignorance and the control of information.
The most memorable reporting I’ve encountered on the conflict in Iraq was delivered in the form of confetti exploding out of a cardboard tube.
The power redistributions of the 21st century have dealt representative democracies out. Representative democracies are a poor fit to the challenges ahead, and ‘rebooting’ them is not enough. The future looks nothing like democracy, because democracy, which sought to empower the individual, is being obsolesced by a social order which hyperempowers him.
Students of cultural lag in American professional life should find their way to Felix Salmon’s latest post on the Newsweek cover story that went awry. There they will find — these students of cultural lag — a wonderful example of accomplished journalists living in a vanished world that they insist is quite present.
Dear Old People Who Run the World,
My generation would like to break up with you.
It can hardly have escaped your notice that a battle of epic proportions, simmering at the fringes for months, was this very week finally joined. Pursuing what can only be termed a “mobius strip news cycle” strategy, certain “financial news” programs have taken to throwing those pesky “parasitic” bloggers to the proverbial wolves at every opportunity.
Fellow C4SS commentator Tom Knapp reported a few weeks ago on an activist at the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh who was arrested for using Twitter, from a hotel room, to inform demonstrators of police movements. Tom pointed out that next time the organizers, typical of all forms of networked resistance, will adapt their tactics accordingly by setting up their comm station on the other side of jurisdictional lines. And of course activists of all sorts, across the whole spectrum of movements, will adopt the lessons for their own.
- The Internet is different.
It produces different public spheres, different terms of trade and different cultural skills. The media must adapt their work methods to today’s technological reality instead of ignoring or challenging it. It is their duty to develop the best possible form of journalism based on the available technology. This includes new journalistic products and methods.
There was a small explosion on the internet yesterday. Not many killed. One man outed, another reviled.
The web is changing the way in which people relate to power, and politics will have no choice but to adapt too.
For a long time, I thought the idea that “information wants to be free” was kind of silly. The information doesn’t want anything, I reasoned. Humans made the choices to share or hold back information. To think otherwise was to be naive, to believe too deeply in the transformative power of technology.
But the last few months of our augmented reality have changed my mind.