Media - June 17
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Izzy Stone, Patron Saint of Bloggers
Jeff Cohen, Common Dreams
It was nineteen years ago this week that I.F. (Izzy) Stone died. The legendary blogger was 81.
Confused? You say he died years before web blogs were invented?
Well, yeah, but when I think of today’s blunt, fact-based online hell-raisers, my mind quickly flashes on Izzy Stone. You may think of Josh Marshall or Glenn Greenwald or Arianna Huffington. I think of Izzy.
Before there was an Internet, Izzy Stone was doing the work we associate with today’s best bloggers. Like them, he was obsessed with citing original documents and texts. But before search engines, Izzy had to consume ten newspapers per day - and physically visit government archives and press offices, and personally pore over thousands of words in the Congressional Record. That’s how he repeatedly scooped the gullible, faux-objective MSM of his day in exposing government deceit, like that propelling the Vietnam War.
(16 June 2008)
I.F. Stone was my hero as a journalist. -BA
The Ups and Downs of Giving a Peak Oil Presentation
Phil Hart, The Oil Drum: Australia / New Zealand
Since returning to Melbourne two years ago after working in the North Sea oil and gas industry, I've given a peak oil presentation to varied audiences on average once a month. They have all been positive experiences (some more so than others) and at least help me feel that I am doing something constructive. Generally though, I've had audiences who have invited me to come and speak about this topic, so I've usually had a polite if not completely convinced audience.
TOD reader Ralph started first time with a tougher audience:
... Over to you now.. Whether you've been in the audience or running the show, what makes a good peak oil presentation?
(16 June 2008)
Very helpful suggestions for anyone giving talks on peak oil. -BA
Broadcast Legend Bill Moyers on Media Reform: “Democracy Only Works When Ordinary People Claim It as Their Own
Bill Moyers, Democracy Now
... You represent millions of Americans who see media consolidation as a corrosive social force. It robs them of their voice in public affairs, pollutes the political culture and turns the debate over profound issues into a shouting match of polarized views promulgated by partisan apologists who trivialize democracy while refusing to speak the truth about how our country is being plundered.
The patriarch of your movement warned a generation ago of what was coming. In his magisterial book, Media Monopoly, Ben Bagdikian wrote, quote, “The result of the overwhelming power of relatively narrow corporate ideologies has been the creation of widely established political and economic illusions with little visible contradictions in the media to which a majority of the people is exclusively exposed." In other words, what we need to know to make democracy work for all Americans is compromised by media institutions deeply embedded in the power structures of society.
Whether employing professional journalists trained at prestigious universities or polemicists whose ignorance, arrogance and malevolence serve partisan agendas, our dominant media are ultimately accountable only to corporate boards whose mission is not life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for the whole body of our republic, but the aggrandizement of corporate executives and shareholders; organizations whose self-styled mandate is not holding public and private power accountable so that there is an equilibrium in society, but aggregating their interlocking interests; organizations whose reward comes not from helping fulfill the social compact embodied in the notion of “We, the people,” but from the manufacturing of news and information as profitable consumer commodities, rather than the means to empower morally responsible citizens.
What does it matter?
(9 June 2008)
Is Google Making Us Stupid?
What the Internet is doing to our brains
Nicholas Carr, The Atlantic
... Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going-so far as I can tell-but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.
I think I know what’s going on. For more than a decade now, I’ve been spending a lot of time online, searching and surfing and sometimes adding to the great databases of the Internet. The Web has been a godsend to me as a writer. Research that once required days in the stacks or periodical rooms of libraries can now be done in minutes. A few Google searches, some quick clicks on hyperlinks, and I’ve got the telltale fact or pithy quote I was after. Even when I’m not working, I’m as likely as not to be foraging in the Web’s info-thickets-reading and writing e-mails, scanning headlines and blog posts, watching videos and listening to podcasts, or just tripping from link to link to link. (Unlike footnotes, to which they’re sometimes likened, hyperlinks don’t merely point to related works; they propel you toward them.)
For me, as for others, the Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind.
Related at Miami Herald: Reader finds satisfaction in a good read.
The Associated Press, Bloggers, Boycotts, and Copyright Issues
Susan Duclos, Wake up America
The Associated Press filed six Digital Millenium Copyright Act takedown requests against the Drudge Retort claiming that the users linking to its stories are violating its copyright and committing "'hot news' misappropriation under New York state law.
The Drudge Retort has 8,500 users and is comparable in function with Digg, Reddit and Mixx and according to Rogers Cadenhead, the owner of the Drudge Retort, the site allows users to contribute blog entries that they write and links to interesting news articles on the web.
Many bloggers and citizen journalists will write articles, then use small quotes from the original source, where the original words need to be in context and exact so as to not misquote or misrepresent the story itself.
... This has started a whirlwind in the blogosphere and the media with prominent and lesser known bloggers determining to simply not use any AP articles, but instead use Reuters, Agence-France-Press, McClatchy or IPS to stop driving any traffic whatsoever to any AP articles. They even set up a petition to start implementing their boycott against the AP.
Bloggers have joined in for what NewsHoggers calls a bipartisan boycott of the Associated Press.
After the news spread along the blogosphere this weekend, evidently the Associated Press saw the firestorm it had created and in the New York Times today, they report that Jim Kennedy, vice president and strategy director of The A.P, said in an interview that the letter sent to the Drudge Retort had been "heavyhanded" and the AP was going to rethink it's policy toward bloggers.
(16 June 2008)
So here’s our new policy on A.P. stories: they don’t exist. We don’t see them, we don’t quote them, we don’t link to them. They’re banned until they abandon this new strategy, and I encourage others to do the same until they back down from these ridiculous attempts to stop the spread of information around the Internet.
Blogger arrests hit record high
More bloggers than ever face arrest for exposing human rights abuses or criticising governments, says a report.
Since 2003, 64 people have been arrested for publishing their views on a blog, says the University of Washington annual report.
In 2007 three times as many people were arrested for blogging about political issues than in 2006, it revealed.
(16 June 2008)
Related at the Guardian: Censorship: Record number of bloggers arrested.