December 9, 2011

I have given my whole life to newspapers.
I am convinced that they have abandoned their functions, and in an abject and ignominious manner, in the present war.
Nine-tenths of them, and even more than nine-tenths, print the official blather without any attempt to scrutinize it… It is a disgraceful spectacle, but I do not believe that anything can be done about it.
Roosevelt has taken the press into camp as certainly has he has taken the Supreme Court.
It has ceased altogether to be independent and has become docilely official.
H.L. Mencken, June 10, 1944

Shift a few items around, and Mr. Mencken could be writing about the nowadays — the above quote comes from a diary entry.

Journalism as practiced today sucks through a small straw, and one wonders at the astonishment faced by Mencken if he was around right now, marveling at how even-more shitty the rank-and-file news business has become in just the last decade.

A decade of terror-induced hysteria.

(Illustration found here).

The so-called mainstream media — dubbed MSM, a set of letters which in its appearance intuits a sexual preference — has degraded itself into nothing more than a stenographer, printing lies and misinformation as if were plain truth.
One huge example: The 2008 Pulitzer Prize went to the New York Times for its story on those nit-twit military ‘advisors’ on MSM TV in 2003 waxing wonderful on the invasion of Iraq, who were, in fact, in the pocket of the Pentagon — delivering to a naive (and hysterical) US public George Jr.’s line on the whole Iraqi bullshit.
Great story, deserving of a Pulitzer, but who knows of it?
I’ve a good friend who follows the news real close, but he’s never heard of the NYT article — and he’s not The Lone Ranger, a vast-majority of US peoples have never heard of it either.
My friend’s problem?
He doesn’t go online.

In my humble opinion, the Internet keeps the MSM from becoming a government mouthpiece.
And now that might be a problem.
Via and blogger Crystal L. Cox:

A federal judge in Oregon has ruled that a Montana woman sued for defamation was not a journalist when she posted online that an Oregon lawyer acted criminally during a bankruptcy case, a decision with implications for bloggers around the country.

U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez found last week that as a blogger, Cox was not a journalist and cannot claim the protections afforded to mainstream reporters and news outlets.
Although media experts said Wednesday that the ruling would have little effect on the definition of journalism, it casts a shadow on those who work in nontraditional media since it highlights the lack of case law that could protect them and the fact that current state shield laws for journalists are not covering recent developments in online media.

Hernandez said Cox was not a journalist because she offered no professional qualifications as a journalist or legitimate news outlet.
She had no journalism education, credentials or affiliation with a recognized news outlet, proof of adhering to journalistic standards such as editing or checking her facts, evidence she produced an independent product or evidence she ever tried to get both sides of the story.
Cox said she considered herself a journalist, producing more than 400 blogs over the past five years, with a proprietary technique to get her postings on the top of search engines where they get the most notice.
“What could be more mainstream than the Internet and the top of the search engine?” she said.

Ellyn Angelotti, who teaches about digital trends and social media at The Poynter Institute, said the ruling was significant because so little case law has built up on online media.
But she believed it would have little impact on bloggers in general until the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a case, or more federal courts rule.
Kyu Ho Youm, a First Amendment expert and journalism professor at the University of Oregon, called the judge’s strict definition of a journalist “outdated” since so-called citizen journalists currently outnumber traditional journalists.
“When we talk about the shield law, we should pay more attention to the function people are doing than whether people are connected to traditional and established news media,” he said.

Yes, indeed.

And the time is approaching, case in point: The Protect IP Act, and its sister, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which would allow the U.S. Department of Justice to seek court orders focused on shutting down websites accused of copyright infringement, and in the process, will limit free speech and innovation.
Both of these pending laws will change the outlook of the Net — both of which are called “Intolerable Actsby Slate in a post yesterday:

SOPA would go even further, creating a system of private regulation to shut down websites that are accused of not doing enough to prevent infringement.
Keep in mind that these shutdowns would happen before a site owner could defend himself in court—SOPA could punish sites without even establishing whether they are guilty of the charges brought against them.

Rather than blocking online copyright infringement, legislation like SOPA and Protect IP would instigate a data obfuscation arms race, making legitimate law enforcement efforts all the more difficult.
If the United States decides that copyright infringement must be stopped at any cost, the required censorship regime will depend on ever more invasive practices, such as monitoring users’ personal Web traffic.
This counterproductive cat-and-mouse game of censorship and circumvention would drive savvy scofflaws to darknets while increasing surveillance of less technically proficient Internet users.

The Net could go a bit darker.

And a sense of why was captured last Sept. 11 by Spencer Ackerman at Wired:

Ten years ago today, 2,996 people were murdered, unleashing a pair of destructive, mutually reinforcing trends.
To prove their relevance, terrorists keep trying to attack the United States at home.
And the media and politicians react to it with hysteria, running in fear of getting blamed for a successful attack and perpetuating the gigantic, expensive, counterproductive National Security State.
As awful as the snuffing of so many souls on 9/11 was, the second trend has often proved more dangerous than the first.

I-Journalism might become ‘more dangerous‘ in the near future, and in its fashion, the MSM will end up the new porn.

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