blog, british blogosphere, internet, new media, normblog, old media, Oliver Kamm, Politics

the mainstreamedia’s fatal hug

Normblog argues, contra Kamm, that there must be something good about blogs, if the mainstream media threw themselves onto the novelty.

there was also something there that the press and other media wanted a part of, wanted to be part of. They surely did.

Normblog stresses two possible explanations for the mainstream media’s interest in the (new) phenomenon:

Of course, it might just be that here was a new fashion, and being composed of human beings, the media were disposed to follow it without any very good reason, as people sometimes will. But we must allow for the possibility, as well, that there was something of positive value in this new phenomenon, and that this was what attracted the existing media to it.

I think he misses out on a third, simpler, explanation: that, in short, there was profit to be made by becoming part of, or at least showing themselves to be part of, the new, fabulous world of blogs. Opening blogs, hosting blogs, making their templates look like blogs – all things that the mainstream media has done in recent years – meant showing themselves to be blogger friendly. And given that blogging started out as an anti-establishment anti-mainstreamedia phenomenon, the mainstream media could not afford to let blogs take all the attention away from themselves, nor could they afford to miss out on the bloggers’ attention.

Alan Milburn, Britain, Charles Clarke, gordon brown, Labour Party, new media, Politics, the 2020 vision, The Smith Institute, Think Tanks

Clarke and Milburn are out to get Brown: I’ve got proof!

Do you want proof that Clarke‘s and Milburn‘s initiative is a challenge to Brown? On the website they have just launched, “the 2020 vision”, they have a list of Think Tanks; and The Smith Institute is the very bottom of that list (and the list it’s not in alphabetical order).

Britain, democracy, e-petitions, internet, Iraq, London, new media, Politics, road-pricing petition, The Guardian


The Guardian’s war against the democratic potential of new media continues: today, Catherine Bennett gives out about e-petitions:

By the time it closes next Tuesday – she says – there may be two million signatories to the road-pricing petition. A large figure, but one that should, perhaps, inspire only limited owe in a country where eight million people watched Jade flop out of Big Brother. And where, in 1989, 4.5 million people put their names to a real, paper, petition, in support of the ambulance workers’ wage claim“.

Weren’t a million people marching in London in February 2003 (exactly four years today, in fact) supposed to mean that the whole Britain was against the war?

blog, Britain, british blogosphere, democracy, internet, new media, Politics

blogs and dilettantism

The BB (British Blogosphere) is talking, for a change, about blogs and democracy. Oliver Kamm questions one of the founding assumptions of blogging: that it is good for democracy. He claims that actually blogging “impoverishes our democracy” because it “narrows the range of opinion presented in the public square” (normblog and Iain Dale, for the record, disagree). It might indeed be true that blogs narrow the diversity and quality of the democratic conversation; and even that they polarize opinions. But even if we concede all that, it does not follow that blogs impoverish our democracy. And this is because they do something else for our democracy; something which is, arguably, far more important than the diversity and quality of the debate: blogs promote and increase participation in the political debate. And in countries like this one with hardly half of the electorate showing up at polling stations, that is a priority. In fact, I happen to think that dilettantism, which I guess is the reason why blogs are supposed to narrow the debate, is a necessary condition to blogs enriching our democracy. And it might be no coincidence that those arguing against the democratic value of blogs happen to be somewhat professional bloggers. They, if anybody, are the problem.

Britain, cash for peerages, Labour Party, new media, old media, Politics, Tony Blair

immediate media anyone?

PM has been interviewed by police, AGAIN! Denial forces me to diverge attention from cash for peerages; so let’s talk about something far scarier than your PM being a criminal: Blair was interviewed last Friday (so before his worst ever interview), and we only found out today – a week later. Old, new, or middle-aged media, none of us is very immediate.