A lot of kak is currently being talked about ‘regulating the Internet’ mainly by politicians who don’t seem to understand the medium. They seem to think that the dying mainstream press (owned or controlled by them) needs subsidising against what Glenn Reynolds called ‘An Army of Davids’. A mostly unpaid and unsubsidised bunch of amateurs. Shock! Horror! ‘Professional Journalists’ beaten by a bunch of mere amateur scribblers! SOMETHING MUST BE DONE! Cue Dalek like repetitions of “Regulate! Regulate! Exterminate!” from vested interests and those with something to hide. Including, and especially, the United Nations, which is looking increasingly like an organisation well past its sell-by date.
Okay, let’s be a bit more dispassionate, shall we? Why is the mainstream losing ground against the many voices on the ultra-connected sources of the Internet? I have a one word answer; Integrity. The Internet is the great leveller of information playing fields. The teller of uncomfortable truths, and, let’s be fair, a whole lot of bullshit as well, but at least that pile of crap is obvious and visible, accessible for fact checking and verification. It’s a full on assault on the sensibilities. Unlike the monochrome, one sided cut and pastedness of the mainstream, where too many press releases get uncritically reposted as incontrovertible facts.
For as long as I can remember, even before the Internet, I’ve heard tales of Journalistic ‘Integrity’. Misquoted interviewees. Cheque book journalism. Garbage rummaging, to name but three. Not to mention important stories ‘spiked’ (rejected) by editorial policy.
To suggest that “It’s all the fault of the Internet” as Boris Johnson (amongst others) did today in the UK’s Daily Telegraph is therefore a palpable, noisome, egregious nonsense. Never mind the impossibility of regulating every single voice and blog. It’s too big. Even highly censorious regimes have serious trouble keeping the drip-drip of dissenting voices silent. As for Theresa May’s “Anyone who doesn’t support regulation has blood on their hands” assertion, why do the presses not jam, their servers not melt and crash under such a heinous untruth?
My response? Anyone supporting such regulation is an obvious Statist, and as such to be viewed with automatic suspicion. Someone who is not worthy of trust. Warning! Danger! Danger! Will Robinson!H/T This post at|Counting Cats
There is a way the mainstream can survive and prosper. If they want to compete, they’re going to have to smarten up their collective act. Be more honest, rediscover the meaning of Journalistic integrity. Print only that which can be independently verified, and not by any ‘regulator’ – the facts have their own voices which need no outside help. Then the ‘lost’ readers will return; slowly at first, but in increasing numbers and revenues will climb. Not that I’m holding my breath waiting for such a miracle to occur, that is.