January 27, 2014
Tom Engelhardt's interpretation of the emerging media in a digital age is that it represents a golden age of the reader, a time when all the words you could ever have needed were freely offered up for you to curate as you wish.
There has, in fact, never been a DIY moment like this when it comes to journalism and coverage of the world. Period. For the first time in history, you and I have been put in the position of the newspaper editor. We’re no longer simply passive readers at the mercy of someone else’s idea of how to “cover” or organize this planet and its many moving parts. To one degree or another, to the extent that any of us have the time, curiosity, or energy, all of us can have a hand in shaping, reimagining, and understanding our world in new ways.
Yes, it is a journalistic universe from hell, a genuine nightmare; and yet, for a reader, it’s also an experimental world, something thrillingly, unexpectedly new under the sun. For that reader, a strangely democratic and egalitarian Era of the Word has emerged. It’s chaotic; it’s too much; and make no mistake, it’s also an unstable brew likely to morph into god knows what.
It's all out that there for the reader. Most of the major dailies and magazines of the globe, trade publications, propaganda outfits, Pentagon handouts, the voiciest of blogs, specialist websites, the websites of individual experts with a great deal to say, websites, in fact, for just about anyone from historians, theologians, and philosophers to techies, book lovers, and yes, those fascinated with journalism.
So it's not all opinion and blowhard deception; or the media going into full stonewall mode whenever they're the ones a story is about;or conservative urban legend; or the tabloid media going gangbusters when a shiny new scandal erupts to drive media narratives; media with partisan axes to grind; or mainstream media creating moral panics over alcohol-fuelled violence in the cities to scare the public. There are different voices now.
It is the sunny side of the internet to the dark one of the NSA style system of surveillance whose basic ground rule is that no one is exempt from surveillance.