29 September 2007

the internet: our last hope for a free press

we here at wst... are still skeptical of any real power the blogosphere holds at least here in louisiana. below is some encouraging excerpts from an essay (see link) by mark klempner over on commondreams.org where he mentions bloggers and how the blogosphere fits in versus the main stream media in his vision of an internet free press.

I have seen bloggers expose mistakes and biases in the MSM within hours or even minutes of an article’s release
Bloggers are in an entirely different position: They tend to be mavericks who work for free, and operate far from the sources of power. Feeling no need to ingratiate themselves with the movers and shakers of industry and government, they simply tell it like it is from where they sit as concerned, informed citizens with diverse areas of expertise. Though they don’t often have professional training as journalists, many of them exceed professional journalistic standards, because they answer to their consciences alone rather than to corporate honchos and fund managers. We need to hear from such people, and the fact that there are more blogs out there worth reading than anyone has time to read is a hopeful sign.

Of course, the blogosphere is also filled with nonsense, and worse –as might be expected in any open space that lacks gatekeepers. The all-too-human reality of the web is that the majority of its traffic is directed to sex sites. What’s more, hate groups of all kinds find it a perfect forum to purvey their sick ideas. Even the benign Wikipedia can be used to disseminate false information with an effortlessness that has earned it the gratitude of propagandists everywhere.
despite the nonsense mr. klempner feels that the internet is 'remarkable' and that
out of the cyberslime the lotus of a truly free press has been able to grow. Citizens seeking to avail themselves of the valuable commentary to be found on the web, as well as the fact checking services of legions of bloggers, can learn to easily bypass the detritus and go directly to those sites that offer valuable content.
Again I say: go to the Internet. Though it’s worthwhile to read the print publications that pursue quality reporting-and some of the smaller ones really need our support-subscribing is not essential: nearly all of the important articles from these publications may be found on the web, and bloggers often link to them. And besides, there is also some fine web-based reporting..."