Monday, November 9, 2009

Perspective I Gained Today

I learned something today. There is no constitutional amendment mandating that a news outlet be credible. Truth. It is not against the First Amendment to suck at your job--even if you claim to be a news outlet.

It's been well-documented that the advent of social media and advancement of all forms of other technology have driven a vast change in the way people get their information. How do you filter out the commentary from the news? Frighteningly, most people don't.

Shocking as it may be, at the center of this controversy is Fox conservative propaganda passed off as factual News, which is attempting to block Google from using "news" content from its companies. While part of me is inclined to argue, "Who cares? They're not credible anyway," the fact of the matter is that we all should.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a leftist-leaning, First Amendment as a shield and a sword journalism guy. I love the free exchange of information afforded me by the Constitution. Per the (then) groundbreaking decision in Near v. Minnesota, it is in violation of said First Amendment to stop people from saying something before they've said it. This is known as prior restraint. It's a no no. Has been since 1931.

What am I missing? How does this business about Murdoch trying to block Google spiders from picking up information and disseminating through the same channels as...oh I dunno...everything else on the Internet not violate this Supreme Court decision?

Furthermore, in what context is this even smart? Google has kind of become the ubiquitous search engine, and when people want to find something, it's where they go. Microsoft and Yahoo couldn't compete, so they combined to produce Bing...and got to about 26% market share. (They're still separated out in the graphic as the rollout is still in process, but I combined the numbers.)

As I reread the article, I suppose it never does specify that this is taking place in the US, but it's the Internet. It's ubiquitous and omnipresent. I just fail to see how this works or in what context this is a good idea. Sell ads like everyone else on the Internet. You have a ready-made market segment just by virtue of your content.

Oh, and since you're in Australia, if you get an iPhone and jailbreak it, you may end up with wallpaper that's never gonna give you up and never gonna let you down.


  1. Self-proclaimed "leftist leaning guy" eh? I guess I knew that. We'll see if your political orientation moves more toward the right as your working years march on and you start a family.

  2. not likely considering my entire professional existence hinges on the first amendment

  3. Censorship is one thing...advancement of political agenda disguised as "news reporting" is another--BOTH are distasteful and just plain wrong-- no doubt. By suggesting the possibility of a more moderate position in your future, I'm referring more to the notion of government's fiscal responsibilities to its' people. Funding for an increasing number of social programs rides on the backs of all citizens--through increased taxation. In light of increased taxes, it would follow that hard-earned take home pay would be less and all hard-working families' purchasing power would be reduced. "(We) work hard for the hard for it honey", so I believe there needs to be more fiscal moderation. One "reporter's" opinion.