Journalism or gossip?

October 3rd, 2007

Some people think the Internet is our last hope for a free press, viagra generic troche but I sometimes think the Internet is a lot more like a small town in the 1930s: gossipy, cialis generic troche backbiting, full of cliques, rife with backroom politics, hostile beneath the surface, and prone to turning into an ugly mob at the drop of a hat.

I love the Internet, but I think it tends to emphasize our worst tendencies rather than our better ones.

The net is filled with

  • Porn (which I like personally, but certainly is not representative of our better natures)
  • Extreme politics
  • Lies
  • Innuendo
  • Mob rule
  • Personal attacks
  • And it’s often a playground for pedphiliacs.

I’m not saying we should get rid of the Net, or police it, or regulate it. I am saying that maybe we have reason to be a little less self-satisfied and smug when crowing about how the Internet is changing the world.

Entry Filed under: Internet

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nick  |  October 3rd, 2007 at 8:13 am

    Whenever I think these things myself, I find it helpful to go back and look at some old pictures from the 1700’s and 1800’s of signs and pamphlets that people used to make with their old presses… and realize that nothing has changed with the Internet except the potential size of your audience.

  • 2. BobG  |  October 3rd, 2007 at 11:00 am

    I’m not sure I see that much difference between it and the MSM, other than numbers 1 and 7.

  • 3. HeatherRadish  |  October 3rd, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    The MSM doesn’t shy away from #7 too hard, either.

    I think it depends on how you use the internet. 15 years ago, I read three newspapers: my hometown’s weekly high-school-sports-weddings-and-babies rag, my college’s weekly stuff-on-campus paper, and the Chicago Tribune (split a subscription with some dorm neighbors).

    In 2007, on any given day you can find in my browser history one or more articles from at least 15 U.S., Canadian, and UK papers, and often one or more English-language articles from European papers. Not to mention the access I have to journals, white papers, and commentary from credentialed experts. I don’t have to go to the library and wait three months for something to show up in the User’s Guide to Periodical Literature or plop down $2.50 at the bookstore for the NY Slimes (I still like their art section)–it’s all there at the touch of a button.

    Yes, there’s a lot of crap (I often send links with a disclaimer to read the article, not the comments), but the world HAS changed for the better.

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Being in a wheelchair gives you a unique perspective on the world. This blog features many of my views on politics, art, science, and entertainment. My name is Elliot Stearns. More...

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