Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Freedom of the Thought - Regained

The Belmont Club has some extracts from The Buzz Machine 's live blogging from a conference on blogging at Harvard.

Then somewhat later.

: Jill Abramson, an editor at the NY Times, and Dave Winer, get kerfluffling together and I can't summarize it well. But I entered in when she went on about the expense of keeping journalists in Iraq -- which is true and for which we are grateful. But I started telling the story of Zeyad taking his camera to cover an antiterrorism demonstration last December that The Times didn't cover. As soon as I mention it, Abramson starts shaking her head and looking away.

: Abramson said that it is "completely contrary" to the histyry and standards of The Times to run content that they do not vet.

I would have given anything to have asked whether Abramson of the Times preferred an unidentified AP stringer taking pictures of Iraqi election workers being executed on Haifa Street over Zeyad, and why. But that would have been churlish, and I must admit, intellectually shallow. The really interesting question was posed by Jimbo Wales. The engine that enabled Wikipedia to overtake Brittanica at the encyclopedia game was self-evidently a powerful one; a phenomenon, which I am tempted to surmise may structurally resemble asymmetrical warfare. Abramson shuddered and well she should. But at what? What was out there in the dark about which these conference participants are talking? It is a something that has already swallowed Brittanica. No one is quite sure what it is, but everyone should be quite certain that it will strike again.

"It" is the citizens taking back their freedom of thought. The words "you can't fool all the people all the time" are more true today than at anytime in the history of man. We no longer trust nor rely on legacy media to think for us. Gone are the days when CBS and thought master, Dan Rather, could shove forged documents down our throats. We are in control now Dan; no need to adjust your set.

Legacy media shutter at the sight of a citizenry that can think for itself; that can no longer be controlled. They shutter at the thought of the common man questioning their words from on high. Bloggers have poured water over legacy media and just like the wicked witch of the north from Oz, they are melting.

The combination of citizens armed with cheap video phones, blogs and cheap high speed access to the world's "jungle drum", the Internet, herald a new dawn for freedom of thought.

"The engine that enabled Wikipedia to overtake Brittanica at the encyclopedia game" is powered by citizens of the world. That same engine is already replacing the existing thought machine - the liberal press.

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