What Samuelson’s Editor should have said to him
LoL by: two_kittehs
Mr. Samuelson, don’t blame the internet, blame the newspapers. Your newspaper lost its readers because they don’t trust you to be objective or even informative. You may have forgotten Washington Post’s relentless cheer leading for the Iraq War based on false premises but we the readers haven’t. We are turning towards the internet for multiple sources of news because we don’t trust you. Its not just the Iraq War either, this problem extends to the coverage of the elections, where you ignore the issues and focus on the horse race and while covering the economy, you drive narratives which favor the already powerful. We don’t want you to take sides or to entertain, but to inform, since you have failed to do so, you are going the way of the dodo. The markets have delivered their verdict on the newspaper business, and too bad that you are at the receiving end of the creative destruction that you celebrate.
Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post wants to repeal the internet, yes really. According to Samuelson, the internet is a magical being full of wonderful attributes like YouTube but it is also dangerous, because cyber war. Cue the scary music.He also asserts without any evidence, in typical Pundit fashion, that the benefits provided by the internet are modest compared to the dangers. Mr. Samuelson, who henceforth I shall call Mustache of Concern or MoC, seems to be confusing the internet with the world wide web. There is more to the internet than YouTube and Facebook.
Would the loss of e-mail, Facebook or Wikipedia inflict fundamental change? Now imagine life without some earlier breakthroughs: electricity, cars, antibiotics. Life would be radically different. The Internet’s virtues are overstated, its vices understated. It’s a mixed blessing — and the mix may be moving against us.
There is more to the world wide web, than social networking and sharing videos. There is more to the internet than the worldwide web. Perhaps, MoC should read about the history of the internet, before he goes on his fact free paranoid ramblings. For one, it makes collaboration between groups separated by geography, possible. Internet and the worldwide web disseminate knowledge, knowledge is empowering. The power of an idea can change the world. I can write my opinions and have an audience, may be not one as big as Samuelson’s but an audience nevertheless. Without the internet, that would have been much harder. I would liken the internet and the world wide web to the invention of the printing press. It takes away the monopoly that Samuelson and his ilk have over the distribution of ideas and that is what makes it powerful and threatening to the likes of MoC. It was exactly this monopoly over the dissemination of knowledge, that kept the original Pundits at the top of the caste hierarchy.
To address his point about cyber warfare, any technology from the steam engine to nuclear fission is a two edged sword, can be used for good or evil. Does that mean we should turn back the clock and go live in caves, without using dangerous technologies such as creating fires?
Update: Yesterday, Dr Kitteh made it to the first page of ICHC/lolcats.
Update II: Dr Kitteh is on a roll, he has been promoted to the first page ICHC