Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Hear, hear, for the blogosphere!

Glenn Greenwald is breaking his own curfew and sneaking some short posts instead of working his new book -- which, he says he is "close to finishing". I'm glad he did because I have said before that, with the MSM doing such an abysmal job, the corrupt and contemptible behaviour of pundits and the apathetic voting public possessing goldfish-like curiosity and attention spans, the only consistent hope against the rightwing noise machine is the blogoshere and our archives.
I listened to part of an interview with Al Gore earlier today in which Gore argued that the Internet and blogs are in the process of fundamentally changing the nature of political debate and dialogue in this country. Television has been overwhelmingly dominant in shaping public opinion, Gore argues, and because its attributes (corporate control, advertisement-dependence, reliance on an entertainment-format) preclude meaningful political discussions, our political debates have been vapid, substance-free and highly manipulative (and those who have exercised the most influence in that environment -- presumably television "journalists" and pundits -- have thrived because they excel at these empty tasks.

Gore contends that the Internet will make political debates far more substantive and will render the punditry world far more meritocratic, because online commentators are largely free of the constraints of television which ruin political debates, and because online political dialogue both permits and demands higher-quality arguments in order to persuade. I wish I had the time to write more about that argument, but I thought it was sufficiently interesting simply to pass it on for the moment (without necessarily endorsing all or even any of it).

And I should note that since I have no transcript and did not record the interview, my description of his argument is based on recollection and might be slightly infected with some of my own views.

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