IPcentral Weblog
  The DACA Blog

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The conversation the Net enables
(previous | next)

I love these opening lines in Jose Antonio Vargas's article this morning about the vigorous online conversation that has been taking place about race, Barack Obama, and the controversy regarding past remarks made by his friend, Rev. Jeremiah Wright:

In the church of the Internet, call him the preacher heard all around our YouTubing world, where believers not only watch the videos of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's controversial and racially charged sermons but also edit them, comment on them, pass them around. And make them their own.

Wright's homilies -- including the one where he says "God damn America" -- have taken on a new life, opening up a conversation so kaleidoscopic only the vastness of the Internet has room for it. It's about race, Sen. Barack Obama, the presidential campaign, us.

Think about that line for a moment: "opening up a conversation so kaleidoscopic only the vastness of the Internet has room for it." In a few of my recent essays about the annual State of the News Media report as well as Andrew Keen's rants against "amateur" media, I have argued that we should appreciate just how much better our deliberative democracy is today thanks to the Internet, new media technologies, and user-generated content. Some critics bemoan the fact that we no longer have a handful of media intermediaries moderating or filtering that conversation, but this Obama-Wright issue provides us with a wonderful case study about why that thinking is so utterly misguided. As Vargas suggests, a conversation about race and politics is a conversation about us as a people; as a society. Shouldn't, therefore, "we the people" all be able to have our voices heard in that conversation in one way or another? The Internet enables that, and we are better off for it. Thirty years ago, 3 big networks and a few newspapers would have determined the confines and duration of this discussion. Today, we do.

posted by Adam Thierer @ 8:06 AM | Internet , Mass Media

Share |

Link to this Entry | Printer-Friendly

Post a Comment:

Blog Main
RSS Feed  
Recent Posts
  EFF-PFF Amicus Brief in Schwarzenegger v. EMA Supreme Court Videogame Violence Case
New OECD Study Finds That Improved IPR Protections Benefit Developing Countries
Hubris, Cowardice, File-sharing, and TechDirt
iPhones, DRM, and Doom-Mongers
"Rogue Archivist" Carl Malamud On How to Fix Gov2.0
Coping with Information Overload: Thoughts on Hamlet's BlackBerry by William Powers
How Many Times Has Michael "Dr. Doom" Copps Forecast an Internet Apocalypse?
Google / Verizon Proposal May Be Important Compromise, But Regulatory Trajectory Concerns Many
Two Schools of Internet Pessimism
GAO: Wireless Prices Plummeting; Public Knowledge: We Must Regulate!
Archives by Month
  September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
  - (see all)
Archives by Topic
  - A La Carte
- Add category
- Advertising & Marketing
- Antitrust & Competition Policy
- Appleplectics
- Books & Book Reviews
- Broadband
- Cable
- Campaign Finance Law
- Capitalism
- Capitol Hill
- China
- Commons
- Communications
- Copyright
- Cutting the Video Cord
- Cyber-Security
- Digital Americas
- Digital Europe
- Digital Europe 2006
- Digital TV
- E-commerce
- e-Government & Transparency
- Economics
- Education
- Electricity
- Energy
- Events
- Exaflood
- Free Speech
- Gambling
- General
- Generic Rant
- Global Innovation
- Googlephobia
- Googlephobia
- Human Capital
- Innovation
- Intermediary Deputization & Section 230
- Internet
- Internet Governance
- Internet TV
- Interoperability
- IP
- Local Franchising
- Mass Media
- Media Regulation
- Monetary Policy
- Municipal Ownership
- Net Neutrality
- Neutrality
- Non-PFF Podcasts
- Ongoing Series
- Online Safety & Parental Controls
- Open Source
- PFF Podcasts
- Philosophy / Cyber-Libertarianism
- Privacy
- Privacy Solutions
- Regulation
- Search
- Security
- Software
- Space
- Spectrum
- Sports
- State Policy
- Supreme Court
- Taxes
- The FCC
- The FTC
- The News Frontier
- Think Tanks
- Trade
- Trademark
- Universal Service
- Video Games & Virtual Worlds
- VoIP
- What We're Reading
- Wireless
- Wireline
Archives by Author
PFF Blogosphere Archives
We welcome comments by email - look for a link to the author's email address in the byline of each post. Please let us know if we may publish your remarks.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation