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Letter to the Editor, Financial Times, regarding blogs
To the Editor
RE: FT WEEKEND MAGAZINE - FEATURE: Time for the last post
Your weekend article on blogs bears no resemblance whatever to the world I see when I go online. I've never visited a gossip blog at all. The blogs I visit are those whose contributors are lawyers, economists and other academics, media people of various sorts, and ordinary citizens representative of many other occupations. Some of these people write well and some don't, but the ones I read consistently have ideas that are worth thinking about, ideas that never would have seen the light of day if we were only allowed to read what the U.S. corporate media have dished up for our entertainment.
No human can possibly read or in any way absorb all the informational and disinformational material available to us now. I know it's a difficult concept to master, since so much of the modern world is based on the hierarchical Anglo-European style of people management, but there is a huge advantage in having many eyeballs patrolling the sources of information, many minds with many varieties of experience free to express their thoughts in an open forum, discussion that is not chosen and/or edited by people whose living may depend on not offending the powerful.
Since 2000, the editors of BuzzFlash.com, Democrats.com, Democratic Underground, and I, at my own website, MakeThemAccountable.com, have worked tirelessly to fight the insanity of the right wingers who have taken over the United States. We began before blog software was prevalent, and only Democrats.com has switched to the blog format. We are often overlooked by the newcomers, to many of whom political commentary on the Internet was born in 2002 or later.
Some of the blogs I read depend on the corporate media for stories as a basis for commentary, as mentioned in your article, but some do original research. Has your writer never visited The Brad Blog or The Raw Story? Your article claims that there is no investigative reporting among bloggers, so I suppose he has never been to Consortiumnews.com (in business since 1995) or Truthdig (a new addition to the Internet) or the soon to be launched TPM Muckraker.
Who has the time or the interest to slog through government economic reports? Not me. That's why I read Paul Krugman at The New York Times, but I also read Brad DeLong and The Angry Bear.
Maybe since your reporter works for a non-American newspaper, he's not familiar with how our media kowtow to powerful people, refusing to call them on their obvious lies and hypocricies. If we didn't have blogs such as Crooks and Liars, Daily Kos, Americablog, Firedoglake, Hoffmania, Blah3, and many others, we might never know about the latest assaults on truth, and we certainly wouldn't know the details. We assuredly wouldn't have the audio and video evidence. None of us individually would have the resources to dig up the stories and the quotes from the past that often totally debunk what's being said currently.
The U.S. government's attempts to propagandize the American people, with the cooperation of the U.S. mainstream media, have almost reached the levels of insanity reached in the last years of the Soviet Union. Soviet citizens interested in the truth had their samizdat, and we Americans have our blogosphere. And don't tell me I can't call it that just because some blogger says I can't.
History will show whether truth or PR will win in the long run. Because of the Internet, I'm betting on truth.
On my website, I do a daily summary of the political news from blogs and the mainstream media. Maybe your reporter should read my daily postings for a while, and then write another, less superficial, article on blogs.