Stifling while listening to Friedman
Friday, May 18, 2007 by Dave Winer.
I did a good job of stifling while listening to NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman, although at times I did gasp out loud at his arrogance and disregard for us, the audience.
Friedman told an old story about how the Internet out of control would turn everyone into a public figure, like Friedman, who suffers from slander and exposure. True, the press can be unkind, Friedman himself has given credit for my work to a mob. What recourse did I have? Not much. I was thinking of responding to him in a question after his speech, but luckily I didn't have the chance.
Friedman told the story of an Indonesian woman who thought Al Gore is Jewish, something she heard on the Internet, which Friedman says is untrustworthy. But we remember when Friedman warned of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, who explained to us in his audience why we had to go to war. If I had time to ask a question, I might have asked him what regrets he has about the mistakes he's made, the lies he told that caused more death than the lies the Indonesian woman who thought Gore is a Jew. The mistake we make is when we blindly trust any source, including the NY Times.
I've been able to use my ability to out bad businesses to get equitable treatment for myself and others. Sure some people will use this medium for bad purposes, as Friedman uses the Times for what I think are bad purposes. Him painting our medium as inherently evil might have slowed things down a tiny bit, a few years ago, but today it only tells us how flat this world looks to a man in Friedman's place. It's no more flat than any other world, but if you over-simplify it can look that way.