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Jim Morris's Thought of the Week (or month, or year, ...)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

For a Regenerative Blogosphere

Like many bloggers, I’ve come to believe the traditional media is suspect—not criminally so, but simply because of natural forces. It was all symbolized for me by the spectacle of David Gregory, the enfant terrible of the White House press corps dancing with Karl Rove at a correspondents’ party. Once you get big you get co-opted; there’s no escape.

The symbol of incorruptibility was I. F. Stone who published his own, advertising-free newsletter in the 1970s. He attacked the US government policies effectively and relentlessly, but remained a secret to most of the public.

My theory is that success breeds co-option for the simple reason that clever people who wish to influence the public through the media target the most read, watched, or listened-to outlets. One way or another, the influencers will get to the reporters and editors with the biggest audiences.

As a reader, I try to get information from places most people have not heard of: Dave Farber’s blog, George Friedman’s Stratfor emails, and Greg Palast’s BBC exposes. They may have agendas, but I believe they are not being influenced by others.

I wonder if Daily Kos, because of its wide readership, will come under the influence of other forces. I don’t expect to see Kos boogieing with Karl Rove, but a big audience makes him a target, nonetheless.

My concept of a successful blogosphere is one in which new bloggers are continually rising to replace the successful bloggers so as to keep the influencers constantly scrambling to co-opt the leaders.

Someone should pursue research on where news memes come from to test my theory. Like genetic anthropologists they might be able to distinguish blogs that are parts of someone’s echo chamber from ones that have original information and ideas in them.

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posted by Jim Morris @ 7:32 AM 

Blogger jas0nh0ng said...

Reminds me of Chomsky's filters on the media. Seems like a series of short-term decisions that are good for the media organization, but less so for the people they are supposed to be informing.

I agree with your choice of Dave Farber, interesting people is very informative.

I think social web sites like DailyKos will be harder to co-opt, since there is less centralization. Anyone can post a diary entry, and people can go off and form a new site if they feel DailyKos is too restrictive.

I'd also add Jon Stewart to your list. As court jester, he can say truths that no one else dares. I find it frightening that he is more honest and more accurate than many traditional media sources.

-- Jason H

7:57 AM  

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