May 27, 2005
This quote below is from Glenn Fuller's 'The Eventual Potential of Blogs' paper, which was given at the recent BlogTalk Downunder conference.
"What we would see from the traditional media institutions is reportage on the historical event producing the media-event which enables and frames discussion. Arguably what is produced by bloggers is discussion that enables and frames the event."
That claim is too strong for Australia.
The discussions produced by bloggers at a federal election event often works within the way it has been framed by the corporate media as a two horse race. Few bloggers challenge that framing, and if they do, it is largely ignored by the corporate media and many online readers who continue to think in terms of a horse race. Far from framing the event the bloggers are whistling in the dark, even if they can generate a lot of online discussion.
Fuller quotes from a Paul Patton paper entitled 'The World Seen from Within: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Events' to support his claim. Patton says:
"While social events have always been constituted in part by the manner in which they were represented or described, the speed of modern telecommunications has undoubtedly accelerated the feedback loop between decisions, their perceived consequences and the public reactions to those perceived consequences. It is not plausible to claim that events are reducible to their representations, but it is equally implausible to claim that events and their representations are entirely distinct from one another." Theory and Event(1.1, 1997, n.p.)
Well yes, that is true. You can see the speed of the feedback loop in the way the Howard Government's mandatory detention policy has been unravelling of late. It is changing because the events around this policy are encoded with political meanings, and the Howard Government's political responses (eg. to allow mothers and new born babies to stay ouside the camps) are a reaction to those meanings.
The Howard Government understands that it has to appear to be compassionate and humane in terms of its administration of mandatory detention.This is illustrated by the release of Malaysian woman Virginia Leong and her three-year-old daughter Naomi, born in Sydney's Villawood detention centre.
Bloggers had no role in any of this. This was largely done through the ALP Senators digging away at DIMA at Senate Estimates, the media running with the comments, the PM's office seeing how the politics was playing against them, and then responding. Where were the bloggers? Nowhere. We don't make the news. Nor do we enframe it.
In Australia political bloggers mostly reflect on the significance of what has happened after the event. They do so by contesting different interpretations of the meaning or significance of that event.
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