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Friday, March 31, 2006

A free press versus freedom of speech (part 1 of ?)

Remember when I said here that the attempt to marginalize the blogosphere (in wake of blogs being given the "media expemption" to McCain/Feingold) had begun? Well the LA Times came out swinging this morning.

"BLOGS HAVE BEEN A POTENT force in U.S. politics since, oh, 2004, when they helped bring down a presidential candidate or two and at least one TV news anchor."

Can you feel the love? The editorial gives a brief synopsis of this weeks FEC ruling and then it jumps back into attack mode.

"That leaves amateur politicos and volunteer partisans who don't run ads free to create "Vote for Smith" websites, write blog entries and send mass e-mails without coming under the FEC's purview. "

Amateur politicos and volunteer partisans? As opposed to what? Professional politicos and the legacy media? What is wrong with the average Joe having an opinion and (God forbid) expressing it!

"More important, anyone who wants to publish his or her views online can do so. Unlike television and newspapers, there are no barriers to entry online. "

And again - what is wrong with that? Yes anyone can launch a blog easily, but (as has been shown time and time again) if the blog is posting nothing but rumor and innuendo it will not have the readership. Blogs like Powerline and Captains Quarters have the success that they have had because they DON'T publish rumor and innuendo. These bloggers put their individual reputations on the line on a daily basis. Even anonymous bloggers (like those of us here at Savage Republican) have to make sure that what we are posting is accurate - if we want to be taken seriously. Contrast that with the NY Times which was shown to have misreported a story about FISA judges that testified before Congress this week. With blogs, anyone left or right has equal access to put his/her opinion out for people to find and read. That levels the playing field - unlike the legacy media which gets to pick and choose which opinion to display and where to display them!

Also, unlike television, you have to activly search for a blog in order to read their opinions. The world wide web is a big place and if you don't know what you are looking for, it can be hard to find anything. Newspapers and television news are more "user friendly" (to borrow a computer term) than the web. That means that readers of blogs are generally more informed and more actively searching for the information that they are seeking. To me, that makes the services supplied by blogs and bloggers to be more selective and yes, more partisan. Even though it is harder to get this information (from blogs) John McCain and his friends at the Los Angeles and New York Times, would like to make that an impossibility by completely shutting down the blogs.


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