These are the sites that almost nobody reads until some topic becomes organically relevant. Then there is a spike, people consume the information / opinion, then move on. The blogger serves the greater good of adding something useful to the information flow, and that is good enough for her/him. The readers will sift and judge what they read, rather than accept it as blindly, like we all do with certain sources we trust. Every message stands or falls on its own.
It is what news was supposed to be and was for some time, but like every good thing, it got spoiled by mixing with, being purchased by groups more interested in furthering their financial and political interests than their service to society. It is what blogs might be if they don’t lose their way.
Is there anything wrong with the mass media channels, including many popular bloggers?
Heck Yes. HECK YES! Here’s a list, and please accept my apologies for saying what I think:
- Self-serving prickness – the Colorado shooter told the police he was “like the Joker”. Too eager to get higher ratings, or views, the so called news folks served his purpose of having his face & orange hair in everyone’s face. They are THE sound amplifier used by all sociopaths, willing to turn them into media sensations because it helps their ratings. Yes, people are naturally attracted by repelling and horrendous things… but wouldn’t you consider it despicable if someone was able and willing to make money from providing close access to fresh, deadly crashes on the highway?
- Carelessness – part of what they call “news”, they pollute people’s minds with excessive violence, negative election campaign ads, incomplete quotes making people look bad or mean… Why should we be surprised this activates defense mechanisms and breeds insensitivity & lack of trust in their audience, making them react the only way they know: up the ante; more violence, more (implied) sex, more rock’n roll.
- Willful unawareness: marketing unhealthy products to children and questionable pills to sick people, promoting people as brands only to tear them apart later as frauds, ignoring the real issues behind severe poverty, homelessness, (lack of) health and education issues “‘coz they’re downers and don’t sell”, under-coverage of large fraud by the top 1%.
- Prejudice is served as facts. Let’s be honest, we all know what channels will present on whatever topic and it seems there is no shortage of independent panels that support both points of view.
- Artificial polarization: as Kurt Vonnegut said “Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative.” In the blogorhea, this is most visible in the tech sector, where apparently Android is worthless because the blogger is an Apple fanboy and vice versa. Fortunately, there are more and more “types” of people and everywhere I go, I find a majority of folks just not content to chose one of those camps, and not willing to discard everyone else neither. They also seem to be very picky with their news sources that rarely include the traditional channels.
- The king maker complex: Both media and bloggers think (with some data behind them, unfortunately) that they can crown the next president, invent superstars, make or break the success of products and companies, demonize or sanctify anything, anyone, anywhere. This gives them agendas, and creates competition among themselves rather than a true commitment to the greater good.
- Unaccountability: journalism should be the explanation of facts served without prejudice or spin. Too often nowadays it is about what people “want to hear”, how it makes someone feel, what the poll suggests the truth is and mostly, what the pre-defined spin is. All those are shortcuts to easy programming, tools for influencing public opinion. One should be deeply troubled that both CNN and Fox News had in-depth coverage and stories ready for the Supreme Court’s Health Care ruling. In their ridiculous rat-race to get the story out first, they even started to present how “Obamacare” was overturned, before realizing that Justice Roberts changed his position and the entire ruling with it. The following coverage was absolutely amateurish, mostly praising or demonizing a person, rather than disecting the serious issue at hand. Unfortunately, all topics that matter have pre-defined “stories” that have little to do with the facts on the ground, thus the TV and Radio media deserving the literary distinction of “producing” the news. Real journalists everywhere are in pain over the ridiculousness of what is presented as “news” nowadays and often resort to opinion pieces to call things out the proper way.
Oh, traditional media, you were trusted to be the stewards of a greater good. And while you claim to still care, you are just Murdoch-Turner monopolies who failed and will continue to fail the 99%… because as CEOs and anchors you either are the 1% or desperately want to drink their Olympus nectar. The writing is on your wall, and you scramble for straws trying to keep your place in the public eye. Even the $2 Billion that the election campaign ads will pour into your coffers will not be enough to bring back the “good ol’ times”, for that money is worthless when hidden somewhere in the Cayman Islands.
Unfortunately, I find a lot of popular bloggers quickly catching up with their elder sibling’s sins. Some of them, I do not follow anymore, although many are still staying strong. If this is what it takes, my advice is to resist the temptation of getting rich & famous quickly, and to get (or keep) a different job that can pay their bills and sustain their freedom of speech.
So yes, I do hope that the small blogs and sites will stick around and thrive because:
- useful ideas brew in remote places, at their own pace, ignoring editorial guidelines and deadlines
- independent bloggers do what they’re passionate about because they want to, not because they have to. So chances are they will be truthful about what they know.
- they’re the only ones who fully exercise their free speech, for they have nothing to gain or lose by doing so
- while there is lots of bias on small-time blogs, it tends to honest and declared, without the hypocritical pretense of impartiality. And if not, it is so incredibly easy to ignore them, thus teaching the readers to use their brain and completely own the decision-making process.
Victor Hugo said “One can resist the invasion of armies; one cannot resist the invasion of ideas.” While those ideas might be temporarily slowed down through SOPA / PIPA type legislation, there is no way to stop small time bloggers who just want to express a point of view and discuss it in the most peaceful, most constructive, most democratic, most positive manner they’re capable of. For the most part, they do not wish any personal accolades. They simply want to serve a greater good that will empower people to believe in themselves and find the beauty and potential that lies within them and within those around. It sure beats trying to model ourselves and our children after rotten, fake, over-produced “superstars”.