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A letter printed in the Houston Chronicle to-day - The online computery journal thingy of a turtle

Nov. 16th, 2008

09:46 am - A letter printed in the Houston Chronicle to-day

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In the Letters section of the Chronicle, Jim Robertson writes:

The Page One article "Obama's preferred address begins with http, not 1600" on Nov. 9 pointed out the opportunities that the Obama administration plans to use via the Internet to connect directly with the American people [via Change.gov, Obama's transition team's website -- KT]. The technology is available and can be utilized. However, one aspect of the story gave me great pause.

As long as reporters are taking the information provided by the administration and then questioning, verifying and reporting it, there is the opportunity to raise the points of opposing views and scrutinize what they are being told before reporting it. The reader can then weigh what they learn as he or she reads the story. On the other hand, when the information goes directly to the reader, any opportunity for an unbiased intermediary to report additional, pertinent information or viewpoints is gone. This results in the administration completely controlling information. In some societies this is known as propaganda.

It is ironic that President-elect Barack Obama, who many feel has been treated very favorably by the media during his campaign, is planning to completely bypass the media when communicating with the American people.



I don't think this guy understands how the internet works, or how media works, or the fact that every media outlet in existence has its own website on which they can report about change.gov to their heart's content, or the fact that the White House has its own website anyway, which has been in existence since the beginning of Bill Clinton's second term.

Heck, this guy doesn't seem to have much experience with non-gender-specific pronouns, either. "The reader can then weigh what they learn as he or she reads the story"? Ugh.

Comments:

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From:wbwolf
Date:November 16th, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC)
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Of course, this letter totally ignores the fact that administrations for quite a while now has had this sort of direct bypass of the media. Sometimes, it is through the papers themselves; one of the complaints about the Bush administration was how the Press Secretary was able to "buy off" of the press corps by selective leaks of information and shutting reporters critical of policy. And ever since Clinton set up whitehouse.gov, the government has had this sort of direct connection; this guy is about 15 years too late.
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From:cnoocy
Date:November 16th, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
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I was going to say pretty much the exact same thing.
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From:athelind
Date:November 16th, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC)
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[netspeak]

OH NOES FIRESIDE CHATS

[/netspeak]

Edited at 2008-11-16 04:59 pm (UTC)
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From:dv_girl
Date:November 16th, 2008 07:43 pm (UTC)
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Not just buy them off. The Bush administration has limited who is allowed to speak to Bush to sympathetic reporters who will ask the right questions. His administration also greatly expanded use of the 'free speech' zones, meaning anyone with an opposing opinion is not allowed anywhere near any time he speaks.

A major difference during the campaign was that Obama had mostly open speeches where anyone who wanted to could attend, where McCain continued the Bush tradition, mostly allowing only people who were paying party members and keeping dissenters far far away.
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From:thecanuckguy
Date:November 16th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
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I was wondering where Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper got his poor media relations skills from ...

Now I know.
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From:ceruleanst
Date:November 16th, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC)
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O how will I digest information without enormous corporations "scrutinizing" it, grossly simplifying it, and telling me how I should feel about it?
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From:tracerj
Date:November 16th, 2008 07:41 pm (UTC)
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Kinda like going back to eating raw fruit after a steady diet of HFCS, eh? How will we cope?
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:November 16th, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC)
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That's another thing this man seems to have a tenuous grasp of: the meaning of the word "propaganda". How is press spin *not* propaganda?

He wants to be Orwellian, yet simultaneously not Orwellian. Minitrue = not Minitrue. Jim Robertson doubleplusgood duckspeaker.
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From:shell524
Date:November 16th, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)
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Which non-gender-specific pronouns do you want the guy to use? Most people aren't familiar with the "zie" thing used by lots of 'net folk.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:November 16th, 2008 09:15 pm (UTC)
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Well, the problem is that he's being inconsistent; first he says "they", then he says "he or she". It makes him sound awkward and uneducated, and I'm mainly just pickin' on him at this point. :}
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From:thecanuckguy
Date:November 16th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
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You sure it was written by Jim Robertson and not Ted Stevens?
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