Sunday, May 08, 2005

The right to morals

By way of Dennis Jerz, a rather miffed NPR (National Public Radio to non-US citizens with diminished abbreviation skills) ombudsmann who writes about those pesky blogs with a total lack of moral.
Second, the blogosphere has proven once again to be an amoral place with few rules. The consequences for misbehavior are still vague. The possibility of civic responsibility remains remote. It is a place where the philosophy of "who posts first, wins" predominates.

Reactions like these are interesting, because they indicate a wide range of changes within the mainstream media (MSM, as the abbreviators like to call it).

It shows that the established media has had a feeling of being in control, a feeling which is now failing them. The economic and political structure of established media is not developed for free dissemination of information, but for controlled information. I am not talking about journalistic ethics here, check your sources, protect those who don't understand the dangers of being exposed, protect the privacy of victims, don't spread slander. I am talking about institutional morals, which is very different from journalistic ethics.

Institutional morals is jesuitic in its core. If it can keep the institution running smoother, make more money and beat the competitors, it is good. This is a vital element in the editorial decisions made every day in newsrooms all over the world. Do we have a good case? Can we scoop the next-door neighbour by printing this? Will the girl's tears sell? Will her tits sell better?

We live in a society where powerful media institutions have had the opportunity to play this game behind closed doors. The individuals who have questioned these morals have never had an efficient channel. Now they do. Of course that means the practice of bloggers has to be amoral. Amoral as the opposite of the institutional moral of the mainstream media.

I don't like all the blogs out here. Some of them are disgusting. But if the mainstream media, with their ruthless abuse of our intellect, credibility and human sensitivity are moral, give me the amoral multiverse of blogs anytime.

(Oh, and the practice of scooping - who taught us that? Really, where did the general public learn that scoops are good? Hmm, mainstream media, where did that come from and who keeps doing it over and over again, a game of one-upmanship which has cost lives and caused deep human tragedies more than once? Just asking.)

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