29 March 2009

Odds, Ends, Sods And Such(Part Five)

Conbined with the rise of various forms of alternative media, especially on-line news groups like the various Indy Media

outlets, which had been originally formed to cover the WTO riots in Seattle in 1999, but which came into their own during the

Bush Administration, as well as, on the Right, sites like Free Republic.com, and one can see where a considerable variety of

information became available to many Americans who'd not access to such information and view-points before.

But, perhaps the biggest problem with such open-source media is that, and yes, at least with the Indy Media outlets, there

were and are rules against the posting of spam, commercial messages, racist and other forms of hate speech, and so on, the

information posted on many of these sites is only as good as the source posting it.

As much as I can often detest the old form of journalism, with its many editors, sub-editors, and so on, one advantage to

that was, and remains, the existence of an editorial process, with its many editors, sub-editors, and even fact checkers, to

question and verify the veracity, or not, of information given out by any source.

This isn't generally a feature of many on-line, open-source, news outlets, especially many blogs, which tend to be one-man

bands operated on a shoe-string(am writing this from my own experience alone, and could well be wrong, especially when it

comes to group blogs), and it's pretty easy for factual errors, rumours, half-truths and lies to slip by, depending on the

personal preferences and ideological bents of the blog or other on-line media outlet poster.

Thus, at least to me, it doesn't come as an incredible surprise that a lot of bad, or at least incomplete, information gets

out onto the 'Net, and into people's heads, and with an ease and speed that makes even television news outlets look like 18th

Century newspapers by comparison.

It also means that, in turn, a lot of people, especially those who are already, and for good reason, freaked out by the

current world economic situation, the political and social situations in many parts of the world, and climate change, among

other factors, are going to look to any solutions, no matter how dubious in execution or outcome they might be, that promise

to end these problems and provide a meaningful, satisfactory existence for themselves and theirs.

These people aren't puppets, being strung along by cynical, evil types, though my guess is that some of those providing some

of this information and proposed solutions might be, but who have been buffeted over the years by a sea of propaganda of

various kinds and from various sides, as have we all, and who are trying to make the best possible choices in what appears to

be a pretty small and dismal range of them.

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