“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”

Posted: January 30, 2011 in Blogging, News, Politics
Tags: , , , , ,

That’s so true today, as in the last week we’ve watched both the uprising in Tunisia and the ongoing strife in Egypt. There is a veritable blackout of news coverage of this in the U. S. and we don’t even notice it. It’s on the internet, if you have access. However, if you’re actually in Egypt, that might be a problem. If the only place you get your news is on the television, you are being deliberately kept in the dark. You might want to ask yourself why they’re not showing you what’s going on in Egypt.

I’ve got my opinion. I’ll let you form yours.

Contrary to some reports Egypt isn’t having a peaceful revolution. There’s been looting, which is unconscionable, but there are unconfirmed reports that it’s being done by Mubarak’s police forces. I’m not going to link to those reports, because I haven’t seen them confirmed anywhere. Things are very fluid over there, and it is hard to get information out. Getting real information is one of the most difficult things when something like this is happening.

Twitter is an excellent resource for real-time information, but the reports there are first hand, raw, unfiltered, and can’t necessarily be confirmed. Of course, one can wait until “legitimate” news sources confirm things, but then institutional and political biases have to be taken into account. Egypt’s state television was still broadcasting when I started writing this. Do you believe what they are telling you? (update: link is not working as of 9:30pm CST 1-30-11. It may come back at some point.)

Journalism is at a crossroad, and the only real press in Egypt has been shut down (at least intermittently). This is the way that dictators behave when they are threatened. The sickest part of all this is that our government is on the side of the dictator since the Reagan Administration.

I can only hope that our current president will remember why we elected him: to be a force for peace in our world. He’s managed to get (almost) out of one war, but there’s still one to go. I’ve just been told that my cousin’s son is going to be deployed there this spring.

We need a truly free press. The problem is that there is no such thing anymore. Fortunately, there are a lot of avenues for sources to go direct. And that is (IMNSHO) the future of journalism. Each of these platforms have advantages and pitfalls. None of them are perfect news distribution systems. The old media titans are going to flail around for the next decade or so while this all gets sorted out, but pretty much everyone in the business feels that they’re going the way of the dinosaurs.

Every time something like Egypt, or Tunisia, or the protests in Iran happen, we see the incompetence and/or corruption of the “old media” exposed in quite dramatic fashion. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t any real news out there. There’s LOTS of it. This does mean that the individual news consumer has to be more proactive in finding unfiltered information. It also means that the individual consumer has to be SMARTER about how they consume news. We can argue later about whether or not the consumer actually IS going to be smarter. That’s an entirely separate question.

The new news of the world is more difficult to follow. You have to find real live human beings that you can trust and get your information from them directly. It’s difficult, it’s messy, and it’s quite often really unpleasant. But that’s the way that our world is; it’s not all sunshine and roses. New media aggregators are cropping up to collect information directly from the sources.

That’s a good thing, but you have to pay attention to who’s doing the aggregation. The smart people are becoming their OWN aggregators. The tech is simple. Just get out there and do it. Make your feeds available, and BE THE NEWS. Report on what you know. Report on what you see. Take a picture. Write a story. Blog. You are the solution. The revolution won’t be televised. But it will be tweeted, blogged, and facebooked.

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