Tuesday, March 08, 2005
I say "High", you say "Low"
Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi greets released hostage Giuliana Sgrena
The Italian incident, the attack upon the car carrying Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena to the Baghdad Airport, like so many things which appear in the corporate media, seems at second and third glance something more complex than mere tragedy.
Obviously, being one of those occasionally pajama-clad ordinary citizen bloggers, I’m dependent on Google searches and material published and broadcast by our friendly once trusted media.
Again, like so many stories be it Gannon, Plame, Swift Boats, Draft-dodging Dubya, WMD, Social Security, taxes or whatever, one side not just disagrees but rather completely contradicts the other side.
This, we are told, is balance.
But is it?
More than balance this is stasis; a condition unchanged, in my opinion, from that which existed prior to the arrival of the balanced information and a condition we used to call ignorance.
Like the balance called fair, the resulting ignorance can only be considered purposeful.
In today’s episode in the Mystery of the Teetering Alliance, the Italians diplomatically say the "reconstruction of the tragic event ... does not fully coincide with what has been communicated by U.S. authorities."
Italy’s Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini says:
The car was traveling at no more than 25 mph. He said a light was flashed at the car after a curve, and gunfire -- lasting 10 or 15 seconds -- started immediately afterward.
A statement released Friday night by the United States Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, in military control of Baghdad, said:
The vehicle was "traveling at high speeds" and "refused to stop at a checkpoint." A U.S. patrol "attempted to warn the driver to stop by hand and arm signals, flashing white lights, and firing warning shots in front of the car”…“When the driver didn't stop, the soldiers shot into the engine block which stopped the vehicle, killing one and wounding two others."
The 3rd ID and the Italian Foreign Minister completely contradict one another on all points of fact.
Without any attempt at some sort of wise overarching media or governmental moderation of the disputed facts it almost seems, except for the rise of angry emotions on both sides and a few bullet holes, as if nothing has happened after all.
After a week or two or three or four of zero or slanted coverage, ala Gannon, WMD, Swift Boats, Plame and Dubya’s service evasion, this too, except for a rise in Italian anti Americanism, will quietly blend into the murk and laughter of our scripted national town hall meeting.
I don't know why you say "Goodbye", I say "Hello"
A tiny blurb in a column by Brian Faler in yesterday’s Washington Post offers proof that citizen bloggers go where corporatized media fears to tread, special interest, on demand, non-mass and always person to person decentralized Internet media.
The mini headline, Blogs Draw a Blank, Mostly, seems to mimic old media’s deepest fears wrapped in a blankie of wishful thinking.
The blurb’s point, derived from data complied from the always suspect respondent-skewed CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll, is that only 3% of poll respondents said they read blogs everyday and that 12% reported visiting blogs “a few times a month”.
Hardly insignificant, these numbers show, to me, a major thrust into sacred turf once occupied by the heavy haunches of complaisant big media before the absorbent eyeballs of America and the world’s readers and opinion-makers.
Blogs are, in the main, dense, text-weighted things with a naturally limited appeal to the nerd and wonk amongst us.
My gay (meaning happy, light-hearted), colorful and image-heavy e-rag with its occasional recipes, art news and photo-shopped humor is my non-profit attempt to counter these nerdy tendencies.
Though I worked for 30 years in mass communication, I write for an imaginary reader who shares my interests and humor and not for the least common denominator of a mass readership.
In the exactly three years that I’ve been writing this blog, domestic US and global readership has steadily increased from around 15 to 20 hits per weekday to anywhere between 80 to 95 today.
You, too, can peruse my visitor statistics by clicking the square blue/black button on the extreme left margin at the scroll-end of this webpage.
From late October, when I switched to a new web tracker, to this point in time, my page has been loaded and reloaded more than 8,000 times.
These are tiny numbers compared to the big blogs and while a loaded page isn’t necessarily a read page, I’m pleased to know my voice has rejoined the deafening chorus.
And, if you read my stats, visit Unique Visitors and see if you can spot the occasional IP address ending in .gov, .mil, .state, .darpa and .treas along with a wide range of address from across the United States and the world.
The Internet is truly amazing!
If Washington Post and the Gallup organization stopped fretting about blogs and started reporting on the news maybe they would stop drawing a blank, mostly.
Images: Reuters, Blogger
Headlines: The Beatles