Wednesday, February 16, 2005

a quick quote

yesterday I went to hear the always interesting, always entertaining Bob McChesney and David Bollier speak at USC. (sidenote: McChesney bears an uncanny resemblence to Fred Dryer of Hunter fame). the lecture was about the danger of media consolidation (bob's lecture) and the egregious use of intellectual property law to protect corporate assets and diminish the public domain (david's lecture).

I might post more on that when I'm able to digest it but one thing struck me as particularly interesting - bob's lecture (involving an extended metaphor comparing today's global media corporations to Don Corleone and Hyman Roth) while impassioned and insightful, neglected to discuss the Internet. it struck me as a glaring omission - how can you talk about media responsibility, accountability and asymmetric power structures and not talk about digital technologies, the internet and bloggers?

the new york times this week all but called bloggers bloodthirsty lynch mobs. the cable news networks can't stop talking about the impact of blogs on, um, cable news. tonight's daily show used the controversy to expose the lack of objective reporting from mainstream media outlets. alternative news, soapbox preaching, histrionic handwringing - none of this is new but the Internet does provide a potent platform that (I still believe) offers the opportunity the shift in a small way that asymmetry. yes, blogging follows a power law distribution. very few will ever read this. the potential for misuse is high (as we saw in the CNN case). but I still remain hopeful.

also, the reason I started to write this post was to quote bob. there is a throwaway line in his book, The Problem of the Media (an analysis of media history, economics and policy in the US) that crystallized for me the importance of built environments - an obvious idea, I know, but eloquently stated:

we can regulate social behavior through four general paths: markets, laws, architecture, and cultural norms (2004: 19).


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