What Gillmor’s Trying To Say Is…

March 21, 2008

Blogs are a tech extension of our First Amendment as citizens. Free speech has never been so visible as when they are accessible through the blogs on the world wide web for all to view. Gillmor provides a manual in Chapter 10 for getting the word out without getting crunched with libel charges and prevent being sued. What seems to be most important? Get insurance. The inspiration that breeds amongst big bloggers is that they are able to express themselves creatively and with the ability to indirectly defame any one major or lesser figure they choose. The chapter doesn’t go on to state where the insurance would come from, but Gillmor does reveal that it has to be purchased, and it is expensive. Perhaps, Gillmor was being discreet about his message within the text of the section named “Defamation, Libel, and Other Nasty Stuff. However, I find it it to be inherently obvious that advising insurance for bloggers to “protect” their speech is a clue that the media industry at large is very much in control of the avenue that citizens choose to express themselves when they make their speech public. It is especially true when public figures are involved. At that time, the characteristics of Media looks more like Big Brother Government and that because they both possess a very prominent feature: Money.

Media and money both fundamental components of American culture. Gillmor forgot to leave out the latter when he said that media can show us how we have been transformed. The best of lawyers, provided by the FCC of course, can argue that the internet is the best invention since the printing press. Certainly the internet has become a technological innovation that will succeed many generations past the printing press, becoming one of the most multi-used inventions that the world has seen in the history of human communication. However, Gillmor once again refuses to denounce the primary access that the government also has to the internet-making it a tool best used to “serve and protect”. The incidents of 9/11 didn’t scare people away from reading the paper as much as the US government made everyone whisper into their phones, search only familiar sites on the internet, or momentarily stop or decrease the usage of the phone and internet.

Blogs have revived the tragic abuse of our technologies adding vigor to news that can not often be seen in Big Media newspapers. In fact, many larger media companies have found themselves to be in competition with major bloggers that speak out again their companies, correcting their news and correspondence. Yet, Big Media has acquired the novelty of blogs turning it into a premiere feature on their news websites, and indirectly flaunting the phrase “we got you”! Just as citizens are taking the reigns on blogs as a technology, the larger media industries sweep them up and pay large dollar amounts to get their hand on the writers’ keyboard (instead of their pen). Its a shock that we are not tired of being deceived by these convergences, but its our nature to keep producing, and that’s what bloggers have been doing at their new found homes. The gist of Gillmor’s final chapters in this book is the message that any and all of these changes or restrictions should not stop a citizen from using their First Amendment in its full right. Grassroots are a role model in free speech and if they want to help out major companies in business and public relations and marketing, that’s ok. They need all the guidance they can get considering the danger that has risen with new OS software-no more secrets or information to hide. I can appreciate bloggers who have come from the ground up, taken on an attentive audience, and catch the attention of larger media companies, because it shows that normal citizens who are not tied to the government have power too. It’s even more admirable when the same media industries that tried to shut them up, hired them and gave them six figures to catch them up on what’s happening today in the world of internet media. It’s a new addition to family-We the Media.



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