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> How Wikipedia Puts The Existence Of A Free Press At Risk, And A Free Press Will Die, Not With A Bang, But A Wiki
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Jon Awbrey
post Wed 3rd November 2010, 3:28am
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QUOTE(Larry Sanger @ Tue 2nd November 2010, 11:21pm) *

There is this thing called supply and demand, see. As long as there is a demand for credible news, and as long as there are enough people who do not find the average blog to be credible, there will be a market and hence a supply. The supply might be lower, but there's going to be a significant supply. And if somehow we can arrange for the demand for credible news to be to satisified without many people getting paid, well--great!

If there is anything to worry about, it is that not enough people will demand what I consider to be credible news.

But I'm guessing there are.


Good timing, Larry —

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Comedy depends on it …

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Jon Awbrey
post Sat 20th November 2010, 6:54pm
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Variations on a Theme —

Michael Moore, “How Corporate America Is Pushing Us All Off a Cliff”, Truthout, 19 Nov 2010.

MM included an Exercise for the Reader —

I added my usual suspicion

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MZMcBride
post Sat 20th November 2010, 7:25pm
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There's an undertone here that I think unfairly glamorizes the old media. I'm not sure there's been a very compelling case made that today's Web 2.0 spin is any worse than the spin and propaganda of a century ago.

There is a greater accessibility today, both from a creation and consumption standpoint, to be sure. However, the central argument here seems inherently flawed. When has the press ever been "free" in any sense? And how does greater accessibility in the Digital Age make it less free (or put it "at risk")? I'm still not seeing it.
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Jon Awbrey
post Sat 20th November 2010, 11:10pm
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QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Sat 20th November 2010, 2:25pm) *

There's an undertone here that I think unfairly glamorizes the old media. I'm not sure there's been a very compelling case made that today's Web 2.0 spin is any worse than the spin and propaganda of a century ago.

There is a greater accessibility today, both from a creation and consumption standpoint, to be sure. However, the central argument here seems inherently flawed. When has the press ever been "free" in any sense? And how does greater accessibility in the Digital Age make it less free (or put it "at risk")? I'm still not seeing it.


Maybe you need to read this.

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Jon Awbrey
post Sun 21st November 2010, 3:36am
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Sat 20th November 2010, 6:10pm) *

QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Sat 20th November 2010, 2:25pm) *

There's an undertone here that I think unfairly glamorizes the old media. I'm not sure there's been a very compelling case made that today's Web 2.0 spin is any worse than the spin and propaganda of a century ago.

There is a greater accessibility today, both from a creation and consumption standpoint, to be sure. However, the central argument here seems inherently flawed. When has the press ever been "free" in any sense? And how does greater accessibility in the Digital Age make it less free (or put it "at risk")? I'm still not seeing it.


Maybe you need to read this.

Jon dry.gif


Now, any such “undertone” is of course purely the sound of your own wiki driving you crazy, since no one with any sense whatever who's been paying attention the last 20 to 40 years would be found romanticizing establishment ways of doing anything. But since we are still paying attention we can tell that kicking the last vestiges of accountability and transparency out from under the estates of public education and public information has made things far worse than anyone could have imagined 10 years ago. What you romanticize as some kind of new age is simply the latest extension of old-fashioned brainwashing, with fewer checks against the power of oligarchs to con the public and sabotage the public interest.

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MZMcBride
post Sun 21st November 2010, 7:05am
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Sat 20th November 2010, 10:36pm) *
Now, any such “undertone” is of course purely the sound of your own wiki driving you crazy, since no one with any sense whatever who's been paying attention the last 20 to 40 years would be found romanticizing establishment ways of doing anything. But since we are still paying attention we can tell that kicking the last vestiges of accountability and transparency out from under the estates of public education and public information has made things far worse than anyone could have imagined 10 years ago. What you romanticize as some kind of new age is simply the latest extension of old-fashioned brainwashing, with fewer checks against the power of oligarchs to con the public and sabotage the public interest.
I'm not really romanticizing a new age, but I'm also not starting threads with titles intended to alarm such as "How Wikipedia Puts The Existence Of A Free Press At Risk." I don't think this thread establishes how Wikipedia is putting the existence of a free press at risk. I also don't think this thread establishes what a "free press" even means or how Wikipedia might even be capable of disrupting it.

A site like Wikinews or the Internet in general are more "free" than most news organizations of the past century. If there's a decent argument that Wikipedia is threatening the existence of a free press, I'd be very interested to hear about it and discuss it.

When you say "Wikipedia has shown us that a mass medium can be rendered so plastic and so well-leveraged that any part of it can be manipulated by a relatively small number of people," however, it comes off as complete nonsense. Wikipedia hasn't shown anyone anything of the sort. Everyone with any sense has already known that the mass medium can be manipulated by a small number of people and in fact has been for a long time. The editors of the major newspapers and the directors of the major television stations controlled what was and wasn't news for decades. Advertisers are able to manipulate reality in order to generate huge profits for their clients. The Internet Age has changed the news dynamic to an extent and Wikipedia is perhaps a small component of this change, but the central argument here—that Wikipedia is threatening the existence of a free press—still seems to me to be unsupported by the evidence presented.

Putting blame with Wikipedia for "undermining [the] acceptable standards for information and knowledge publications" seems to be rather naive and misplaced. A bit similar to a person blaming their phone for the performance of the phone network. Wikipedia is certainly contributing to a change in how people view and accept information, but again, your central argument that its threatening the "free press" seems unfounded and seems to dramatically belittle the minds of real journalists.

It would be nice if you would make fewer assumptions about my views and present your own views more clearly.
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Peter Damian
post Sun 21st November 2010, 11:48am
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QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Sun 21st November 2010, 7:05am) *

If there's a decent argument that Wikipedia is threatening the existence of a free press, I'd be very interested to hear about it and discuss it.


I made an argument for that here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/07/truth-in-numbers.html . My fundamental assumption is the cynical one that people don't do anything for 'free'. There's always some sort of motive. Thus Wikipedia is a crank magnet for people with failed or absurd theories, for people who wanted to be journalists, politicians, economists, writers. Don't expect any truth in Wikipedia.

"It is a piece of idle sentimentality that truth, merely as truth, has any inherent power denied to error"

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Sat 20th November 2010, 10:36pm) *
Now, any such “undertone” is of course purely the sound of your own wiki driving you crazy, since no one with any sense whatever who's been paying attention the last 20 to 40 years would be found romanticizing establishment ways of doing anything. But since we are still paying attention we can tell that kicking the last vestiges of accountability and transparency out from under the estates of public education and public information has made things far worse than anyone could have imagined 10 years ago. What you romanticize as some kind of new age is simply the latest extension of old-fashioned brainwashing, with fewer checks against the power of oligarchs to con the public and sabotage the public interest.


For once I agree with Jon. The establishment is very bad. But it's the best you are going to get.

This post has been edited by Peter Damian: Sun 21st November 2010, 11:49am
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Jon Awbrey
post Sun 21st November 2010, 4:15pm
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Sat 20th November 2010, 1:54pm) *

Variations on a Theme —

Michael Moore, “How Corporate America Is Pushing Us All Off a Cliff”, Truthout, 19 Nov 2010.

MM included an Exercise for the Reader —

I added my usual suspicion

Jon Image


Apparently some people did not read this latest post, much less the article that I linked.

Exercise for Those Who Can Read …

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Kelly Martin
post Sun 21st November 2010, 4:53pm
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Wikipedia is being steadily subverted to serve the establishment it is supposed to be undermining. That process is not complete, yet, but it will be before long. Wikipedia's aggressive insistence on anonymity has a lot to do with that.
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Avirosa
post Sun 21st November 2010, 8:39pm
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QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Sun 21st November 2010, 7:05am) *
A site like Wikinews or the Internet in general are more "free" than most news organizations of the past century.


Where exactly does all this 'free news' come from ? Oh that's right from the same news organisations that have been accessing news and publishing it for the last (at least) 100 years. News (i.e emerging data on human societies, individuals, the environment that they inhabit and the economies within they are active) is only as 'free' as the context of the accumulation of the data in a process at one time called 'news gathering'. Do you have an argument for how or why the contexts of news data accummulation have changed so as to make news 'more free' ?

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Zoloft
post Sun 21st November 2010, 8:47pm
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Sun 21st November 2010, 8:15am) *
QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Sat 20th November 2010, 1:54pm) *
Variations on a Theme —

Michael Moore, “How Corporate America Is Pushing Us All Off a Cliff”, Truthout, 19 Nov 2010.

MM included an Exercise for the Reader —

I added my usual suspicion

Jon Image
Apparently some people did not read this latest post, much less the article that I linked.

Exercise for Those Who Can Read …

Jon dry.gif
QUOTE(Jon Awbrey from Truth-out)
Wikipedia, eh? Boy, are you naive!

“Wikipedia has shown us that a mass medium can be rendered so plastic and so well-leveraged that any part of it can be manipulated by a relatively small number of people, in ways that defy a free society's usual means to guard against it, so long as the special interests in question have a moderate amount of resources and the will to do so. If there are portions of the content that remain untouched, it is for two reasons only: (1) no one has conceived a stake in them yet, (2) virgin forest makes for good cover.

“If you're thinking that Wikipedia is the Latest Thing in Blows Against The Empire, then you have a DoubleThink coming.”

— Jon Awbrey, Comment in The Guardian, 30 Jan 2009

Exercise in using the BBCode to quote yourself quoting yourself so people can tell wth you're talking about.

This post has been edited by Zoloft: Sun 21st November 2010, 8:48pm
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Jon Awbrey
post Mon 22nd November 2010, 2:41am
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Good Grief, it's like Wikipediots can't comprehend anything anymore that doesn't come in the form of animated cartoons.

QUOTE(Michael Moore @ 19 Nov 2010)

APCO was hatched in 1984 as a subsidiary of the Washington, D.C. law firm Arnold & Porter — best known for its years of representing the giant tobacco conglomerate Philip Morris. APCO set up fake “grassroots” organizations around the country to do the bidding of Big Tobacco. All of a sudden, “normal, everyday, in-no-way-employed-by-Philip Morris Americans” were popping up everywhere. And it turned out they were outraged — outraged! — by exactly the things APCO's clients hated (such as, the government telling tobacco companies what to do). In particular, they were “furious” that regular people had the right to sue big corporations … you know, like Philip Morris. (For details, see the 2000 report “The CALA Files” (PDF) by my friends and colleagues Carl Deal and Joanne Doroshow.)

— Michael Moore, “How Corporate America Is Pushing Us All Off a Cliff”, 19 Nov 2010

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MZMcBride
post Mon 22nd November 2010, 7:54am
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QUOTE(Avirosa @ Sun 21st November 2010, 3:39pm) *
Do you have an argument for how or why the contexts of news data accummulation have changed so as to make news 'more free' ?
I'm not sure you're familiar with the various meanings of the word "free." When you compare, for example, the copyright status of articles posted at CNN.com to those posted at Wikinews, there is an entirely different sense of the word "free" that emerges than the senses you're considering, I think.

When you compare the advertising on the front page of the New York Times' website to the advertising on the front page of Wikinews, another sense of the word "free" emerges that I'm not sure you're giving any credit to.
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MZMcBride
post Mon 22nd November 2010, 8:04am
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Sun 21st November 2010, 9:41pm) *
Good Grief, it's like Wikipediots can't comprehend anything anymore that doesn't come in the form of animated cartoons.
QUOTE(Michael Moore @ 19 Nov 2010)

APCO was hatched in 1984 as a subsidiary of the Washington, D.C. law firm Arnold & Porter — best known for its years of representing the giant tobacco conglomerate Philip Morris. APCO set up fake “grassroots” organizations around the country to do the bidding of Big Tobacco. All of a sudden, “normal, everyday, in-no-way-employed-by-Philip Morris Americans” were popping up everywhere. And it turned out they were outraged — outraged! — by exactly the things APCO's clients hated (such as, the government telling tobacco companies what to do). In particular, they were “furious” that regular people had the right to sue big corporations … you know, like Philip Morris. (For details, see the 2000 report “The CALA Files” (PDF) by my friends and colleagues Carl Deal and Joanne Doroshow.)

— Michael Moore, “How Corporate America Is Pushing Us All Off a Cliff”, 19 Nov 2010
Call me dense, call me a φool, call me whatever you'd like, but I still don't understand what argument you're making. A "free press" has never been free. It's confined by legal constructs, it's confined by financial constructs, it's confined by social constructs. Anyone who thinks, for example, that the contents of the newspaper aren't or haven't been affected by the ads that run alongside the stories is absolutely crazy. That's the nature of the "free press," then and now (perhaps even more so now given the financial struggles that the newspaper industry is facing).

I think you make a convincing argument that Wikipedia is not an exception when it comes to the possibility for abuse or manipulation. And I don't think many people disagree with you on that point. But where you lose me (and likely others) is when you say that Wikipedia is putting the existence of a free press at risk. That argument I still don't understand or see any convincing evidence to support, but perhaps it's just One Of Those Things (OOTT) and I should simply move on.
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Avirosa
post Mon 22nd November 2010, 6:08pm
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QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Mon 22nd November 2010, 7:54am) *
I'm not sure you're familiar with the various meanings of the word "free." When you compare, for example, the copyright status of articles posted at CNN.com to those posted at Wikinews, there is an entirely different sense of the word "free" that emerges than the senses you're considering, I think.


I find it helpful to start with the meaning commonly understood to be relevant to the context of use:

If a country has a free press, its newspapers, magazines and television and radio stations are able to express any opinions they want, even if these criticize the government and other organisations. (Cambridge.org)

QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Mon 22nd November 2010, 7:54am) *
When you compare the advertising on the front page of the New York Times' website to the advertising on the front page of Wikinews, another sense of the word "free" emerges that I'm not sure you're giving any credit to.


Faced with this kind of jelly brained response I can see why Awbrey has retreated to the device of one liner obscurantism. Grudgingly I'll spell out for you the source of doltary in the above:

If Wikinews or anyother scraper, re-caster, demi plagiarist or shamateur scribbler uses the New York Times to source 'news' then the cost of gaining the intial data, whether it's gained by NYT journalists, NYT partner organisations or a commissioned News Agency, is underwritten by all the sources of income achieved by the NYT, including advertising on the NYT website. The regurgitation (Wikinews as the disgorging of bolus seems particularly apt) of material originating with NYT, on a site that doesn't carry advertising, does not make the achievement of the initial data cost free. And if advertising free news is what anyone wants, they can go the BBC - the citizens of Britain pay for this so it's free of both cost and advertising at the point of access - and there's unambiguous editorial responsibility.

A.virosa

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Jon Awbrey
post Wed 24th November 2010, 2:16am
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Sun 21st November 2010, 9:41pm) *

Good Grief, it's like Wikipediots can't comprehend anything anymore that doesn't come in the form of animated cartoons.

QUOTE(Michael Moore @ 19 Nov 2010)

APCO was hatched in 1984 as a subsidiary of the Washington, D.C. law firm Arnold & Porter — best known for its years of representing the giant tobacco conglomerate Philip Morris. APCO set up fake “grassroots” organizations around the country to do the bidding of Big Tobacco. All of a sudden, “normal, everyday, in-no-way-employed-by-Philip Morris Americans” were popping up everywhere. And it turned out they were outraged — outraged! — by exactly the things APCO's clients hated (such as, the government telling tobacco companies what to do). In particular, they were “furious” that regular people had the right to sue big corporations … you know, like Philip Morris. (For details, see the 2000 report “The CALA Files” (PDF) by my friends and colleagues Carl Deal and Joanne Doroshow.)

— Michael Moore, “How Corporate America Is Pushing Us All Off a Cliff”, 19 Nov 2010



Followup Interview —

Michael Moore Meets Wendell Potter on Countdown with Keith Olbermann : Part 1

Can You Spell A-S-T-R-O-T-U-R-F ???

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