The Net Reigns Supreme (For Better or Worse)

Alter: All Umbrage All the Time | Newsweek Voices – Jonathan Alter | Newsweek.com

After a decade of waiting for the first “Internet election,” its finally here, and were adrift from all the old-media moorings. “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one,” the great critic A. J. Liebling wrote more than half a century ago. Today, of course, were all press lords, or can be. But the “crowd-sourcing” of news cuts both ways. Like democracy itself, it can cleanse, correct and ennoble. Or it can coarsen, spread lies and degrade the national conversation.

Everything about the Web is double-edged. Its hard to believe, but YouTube wasnt even around in 2004. Now it or other streamed video is a godsend for anyone who wants to follow politics closely. But YouTube is also a pixilated guillotine for any public figures inclined to show a little humanity that is, fallibility or a penchant for inconvenient truth-telling when they step out of their house. Colin Powell told me recently that hes even had to put up with picture takers in the mens room.

Alter makes a number of good points in this mini-rant/whine about the interwebs and the reality of a democratized media.  As one actually educated in how the media works and how much works it takes to make much of it look effortless on the consumer end, he makes some good points.

Read more to see my take on it.

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Can You Spot the Digital Ninjii?

Military Report: Secretly ‘Recruit or Hire Bloggers’ | Danger Room from Wired.com

A study, written for U.S. Special Operations Command, suggested “clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers.”Since the start of the Iraq war, there’s been a raucous debate in military circles over how to handle blogs — and the servicemembers who want to keep them. One faction sees blogs as security risks, and a collective waste of troops’ time. The other (which includes top officers, like Gen. David Petraeus and Lt. Gen. William Caldwell) considers blogs to be a valuable source of information, and a way for ordinary troops to shape opinions, both at home and abroad.

This 2006 report for the Joint Special Operations University, “Blogs and Military Information Strategy,” offers a third approach — co-opting bloggers, or even putting them on the payroll. “Hiring a block of bloggers to verbally attack a specific person or promote a specific message may be worth considering,” write the report’s co-authors, James Kinniburgh and Dororthy Denning.

The fact that “Blogs and Military Information Strategy” are even being talked about in the same breath is hilarious. But then again, one of my first 50 visitors at the new place was from a domain called “centcom.mil” so yea…they monitor the net.  Big-time.

Alternate Title : The 21st Century Propaganda Challenge.