Rupert Murdoch Gets It: Blogs Have Elevated Citizen Power & Dethroned Media Elites

rupert-murdoch-blogs

It used to be that a handful of editors could decide what was news–and what was not. They acted as sort of demigods. If they ran a story, it became news. If they ignored an event, it never happened,” Murdoch said.

“Today, editors are losing this power. The Internet, for example, provides access to thousands of new sources that cover things an editor might ignore. And if you aren’t satisfied with that, you can start up your own blog, and cover and comment on the news yourself. Journalists like to think of themselves as watchdogs, but they haven’t always responded well when the public calls them to account.”

To make his point, Murdoch criticized the media reaction after bloggers debunked a 60 Minutes report by former CBS anchor Dan Rather that President Bush had evaded service during his days in the National Guard.

“Far from celebrating this citizen journalism, the establishment media reacted defensively,” Murdoch said.

“During an appearance on Fox News, a CBS executive attacked the bloggers in a statement that will go down in the annals of arrogance. 60 Minutes, he said, was a professional organization with ‘multiple layers of checks and balances.’ By contrast, he dismissed the blogger as ‘a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing.’ Eventually, it was the guys sitting in their pajamas who forced Rather and his producer to resign.”

… Rupert Murdoch talks about new media in the Cnet News article Murdoch To Media: You Dug Yourself A Huge Hole

Traditional Barbados Media Becoming Citizens’ Second Choice For News

Barbados has one of the most vibrant and nationally-influential blogging communities in all the world. That seems like quite a statement until one considers that as a small island nation, Barbados has a population of fewer than three hundred thousand and a tightly controlled news media that usually defers to the government of the day. Not to mention the archaic libel laws that stifle journalism and limit public discussion.

Anonymous blogs flourish in such an environment. Their ability to publish stories that the traditional media won’t touch means that blogs are here to stay in Barbados. The “big frog – small pond” syndrome means that individual Barbados blogs have far more importance and influence than in larger markets like the United States or the U.K.

Bajan Blogs Influencing The Public Agenda

Remember when the Barbados news media covered-up the 3S Flyover Scandal for two weeks by failing to report that the President of the company was being sued for fraud? To refresh you memory read BFP’s Triumph Of The Blogs’ Print Editions – Nation News Shamed Into Reporting Fraud Allegations Against Barbados Flyover Contractor, But Their Carefully Managed Story Still Communicates A Lie

Remember how both the BLP and DLP were shamed by the blogs into promising integrity legislation? Some folks believe that without the blogs, the Owen Arthur BLP government would have held onto power for one more term.

Whatever their views on whether or not the blogs were the tipping point of the recent Barbados election, political pundits must admit that blogs are now an important part of public social and political debate and that any government ignores them at their peril.

The most recent example of blogs and people-power is the popular call for the creation of Graeme Hall National Park. Blogs played an integral part in publicising a “free day” at the nature sanctuary that saw eight-thousand people visit the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary on one Sunday. When the regular news media incorrectly reported that “hundreds” (as opposed to the true figure of eight-thousand) visited the sanctuary, both Barbados Free Press and Bajan Reporter broadcast the truth and once again embarrassed the regular media into correcting their “inaccurate” reporting.

Government Cannot Have Blogs Or The Press Setting Their Agenda, But…

All this brings us to the current Barbados Government of Prime Minister David Thompson. The Prime Minister has been conspicuously silent on the issue of Graeme Hall National Park, but we have no doubt that he is considering everything to do with the park and sanctuary very carefully. He knows that eight-thousand Bajans coming out on one day and three thousand joining the Save the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary FaceBook group in one week are serious indicators that ordinary citizens are mobilising in support of Graeme Hall National Park.

No, Prime Minister Thompson won’t let the blogs or any newspaper set his government’s agenda… but he is no fool. Thousands of Bajans have spoken out to preserve the Graeme Hall wetlands for future generations. Our bet? David Thompson the skilled politician and peacemaker is trying to find a way to explain reality to the greedy developers who had they eyes on the wetlands buffer zone.

Those developers had betta pay attention to the numbers because we are entering a new era in Bajan politics. Anyone who tries to build on the Graeme Hall wetlands will see eight thousand people marching on their home.

And Leroy Paris… why don’t you just assure the folks that you have no intents to build on the Graeme Hall buffer zone? Thanks!

23 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Politics, Politics & Corruption

23 responses to “Rupert Murdoch Gets It: Blogs Have Elevated Citizen Power & Dethroned Media Elites

  1. John

    Good article.

  2. Straight talk

    Back to basics, BFP.

    That’s the way.

    Leave the hyperbole and rumour for others,
    Barbados needs your blog to investigate all alternatives to the pap being fed to us.

  3. reluctant nonbeliever

    This is more like it.

    Welcome back, guys…

  4. Chef

    The many authors at BFP have different interests. Some are more talented than others too. Who wrote this?

  5. Rohan

    BFP, great piece.

  6. crossroads

    I would add that while you say our population is just under 300000, when you take in to consideration the large number of foreigners who also inhabit the island, I am sure the total will reach 500000 (just guessing) you have a much wider, locally based audience than you think BFP. Good article.

  7. 199

    Guys, please resist the temptation to perceive Murdoch as some kind of hero. You can not imagine the ruin and degradation for which his organisations have been responsible, especially in the UK where I live and am thus qualified to talk about. All I can say is, “thank god for the blogs” but, in no way can they even begin to think of challenging the almighty, power of his dailies and tv networks, so let’s see things in their true, perspective. Where he’s concerned, his commercial interests come first, and if you believe otherwise, you’re fooling yourselves!! A tiny instance of what I mean: you try posting a subject for discussion on one of his forums which ‘is sensitive to their business interests’!! It’ll never see the light of day, as has happened both to me and others numerous times!!

  8. Rohan

    199,
    Good point about Murdoch. I decided not to say anything about Murdoch so as not to take away from an otherwise well-written article

    Also, I’ve come to the conclusion that at least one of the BFP writers is a Republican, so I’m not surprised to see this reference to Murdoch who is widely seen in the U.S (even by some republicans) as a positively vile human being.

  9. 199

    Thank you, Rohan. Will read the article, properly, soon!!

  10. Anonymous

    199

    If Murdoch’s that evil, why do you persist on posting articles from his toilet tissue Sun?

  11. Cliverton Not Signed In

    For those who view Murdock as a hero or a monster, that is not the point of this article. The point is the truth of his statements.

    Whether you like him or not, he is one of the most powerful people in news media today and for that reason alone his words should be examined and carefully considered by students of history and current events.

  12. Rohan

    Cliverton Not signed In,

    Yup, I agree with your sentiment.

  13. 199

    Anonymous
    November 20, 2008 at 8:58 pm
    199

    If Murdoch’s that evil, why do you persist on posting articles from his toilet tissue Sun?

    *****************

    Bro, I’m not inclined to reply to anybody posting under the moniker of ‘Anonymous’ – in fact, I thought that BFP had banned such a practice. However, I’m sorry to have to inform u there’s a great deal more to life than merely, reading the news!! ‘The Sun’ is a quick and informative, read!!

    ******************

    “Whether you like him or not, he is one of the most powerful people in news media today and for that reason alone his words should be examined and carefully considered by students of history and current events.”

    *******************

    I thought that was why we were paying so much attention to him here, now!! Seems like a wasted-statement!!

  14. 199

    Listen, it’s exasperating to have to say this! The point is that anybody who appears to be praising the blogs but then, on the other hand, does so much to silence criticism and democracy is thus a hypocrite and should not be listened to or should, at least, be exposed as such!! I’m sorry I had to make that clear and should have thought the implication was obvious from what I’d said!!

    *********************

    ““It used to be that a handful of editors could decide what was news–and what was not. They acted as sort of demigods. If they ran a story, it became news. If they ignored an event, it never happened,” Murdoch said. ”

    ***********************

    Look, even the first para of this tripe (Murdoch’s statement) has got me going!! Some if not most of those editiors to which her refers, as I understand it, WERE CONTROLLED BY HIM, and TOLD what they could say from what they could n’t, so, as far as I’m concerned Mr Murdoch, u can shut-the-*uck-up!!

    I can c I’m gonna have to tek a pill dis marning!!

    **********************

    “Anonymous blogs flourish in such an environment. Their ability to publish stories that the traditional media won’t touch means that blogs are here to stay in Barbados. The “big frog – small pond” syndrome means that individual Barbados blogs have far more importance and influence than in larger markets like the United States or the U.K.”

    ******************

    Lord help me!! It’s such a scandal when I hear that citizens in Bim have to hide in order to express their opinions!! I jes got tun tek a pill, boa!! I pray to god that we eventually, get hold of whoever thinks he (or they) have the right to harass Barbadians over what opinions they can hold and express and then, PUT THE BASTARD(S) TO THE SWORD!!

    I gun definitely, need a pill, dis marning!!

    While in agreement with everything that BFP has said here, I still caan get over dis Rupert Murdoch!!

    For example, Rupert, how about a discussion about you, your family and YOUR organisations owning such a high percentage of some countries’ and the world’s media to positively, DETERMINE what people think about this issue and that issue whether people agree with you, or not!!

    People, and please doan laugh cause it’s so ridiculous!! What about Tony Blair leaving Britain and travelling to Australia or wherever in the world Murdoch was living at the time, back in about ’97 to get down pun he knees and beg Murdoch to support his Labour Party’s campaign to become the PM of Great Britain because Blair knew full well what a dominant, position Murdoch’s papers and news organisations have in this country!! And of course Blair kiss he hand (I think hand!!) and became the British PM for the next ten yrs!!

    Man, please doan tell me bout Murdoch and the iniquitous, power of the press!! I live right hay in crazy, Britain and have had first-hand lessons in them for the past 11 years!!

    If uv any sense, ull listen and LEARN FROM OUR EXPERIENCE!!

  15. 199

    Underestimate the power which the media can have for evil, at your peril!!

  16. 199

    ALL the people who have helped to stifle freedom of speech and the media during the past 15 yrs I hope that Thompson’s government will arrest and throw in Dodds for a very, long time!! And the sooner Thompson and his administration attends to this, the better!!

  17. 199

    And other subverters of the quality of life of Barbadians!!

  18. John

    I see they held a messenger, a shopkeeper and a carpenter in the recent disappearance of the $1.4 million out of the Central Bank.

    I can’t believe that a messenger would be given $1.4 million to run about in Bridgetown with in an attache case, so, how did the shopkeeper and the carpenter gain access to the $1.4million freshly printed $100 bills?

    .. at least it wasn’t US dollars so the Central Bank can still claim to be exercising some sort of control over our foreign reserves.

  19. 199

    John
    November 21, 2008 at 12:18 pm
    I see they held a messenger, a shopkeeper and a carpenter in the recent disappearance of the $1.4 million out of the Central Bank.

    I can’t believe that a messenger would be given $1.4 million to run about in Bridgetown with in an attache case, so, how did the shopkeeper and the carpenter gain access to the $1.4million freshly printed $100 bills?

    .. at least it wasn’t US dollars so the Central Bank can still claim to be exercising some sort of control over our foreign reserves.

    ****************

    Responses like this one make me wonder if a disproportionate, number of Barbadians are n’t just, mental!! I thought this was a discussion about Rupert Murdoch and the media!! Maybe, I got it wrong!!

  20. John

    199

    …. just trying to test how powerful we citizen journalists are, the main thrust of the article, by registering dissatisfaction that no “bigup” has being charged.

    Remember the guy who got charged with unlawfully receiving cheques from Inland Revenue.

    Never heard if the person from inland revenue that signed them was charged, just the guy on the outside.

    Maybe the signature was made with disappearing ink and there is nothing to go on!!

    Seriously though, aren’t you mad that $1.4 million could sprout legs and walk through the layers of security in the Central Bank and all we have to show is a messenger, a shopkeeper and a carpenter?

    Remember, that same security deprived David Brooks, another citizen, of his freedom to lawfully bear his firearm and made me feel like a terrorist when I went there to get a report.

    As a citizen journalist shouldn’t that anger be translated into words for the authorities to read and know they need to do something more?

    … and isn’t this the perfect place to register that anger?

    So no, you didn’t get it wrong, …. you just didn’t have all the facts.

  21. 199

    John, I gotto think about dat one, boa!! I doan live in Bim but if we’re talking bout mauby then I don’t think we should suddenly, unannounced, start talking about green-peas!! It muddies the issue!!

    Maybe a private, mail to BFP asking them to raise the other issue may have been more appropriate!!

    Anyhow, bye for now!!

  22. Illuminator

    To be honest , i am more than a little concerned about why Rupert Murdoch would come out with these tpes of statements right about now. Somehow, i don’t see him as a champion of truth and justice by a long shot. He really is not our friend .

  23. 199

    I consider u got that right, Illuminator and like u, wonder why he should say this, now!! Basically, I don’t trust him for one second!! He’s already damaged the lives of a lot of people, more than he’ll ever know!!