Gears of the blogger's fear
Thursday, August 23, 2007 by Dave Winer.
Yesterday I caught up on cable news -- hadn't been paying much attention. I was peripherally aware that there had been a mine disaster in Utah, followed by a cave-in while rescuers were searching for survivors. Some of them were lost too.
The owner of the mine, a fat not very pretty older man, had become a media star, and had said something in the last news cycle that the press had latched onto, and now talking heads were saying nasty shit about him, the kind of stuff they never say about politicians or TV anchors, the stuff they reserve for the powerless, death row inmates, Don Imus.
What he did wasn't so clear. They said (in an amazed tone) "and now he's denying he ever said it." They showed tape of him denying it, but the tape didn't include what he was denying having said. In other words, here's a fat, ugly, old man, being defensive. He's a bad person. I found myself thinking, nahh, he's probably just an average person, caught in the gears on a slow news day (the other big news was President Bush finally admitting that Iraq is a lot like Vietnam, something he and other neocons would have screamed at if you said it before yesterday).
The thing is, why we need to be paying attention to this in the blogosphere, is that we're doing the same thing, all the time. We have all the trappings, the cameras, the mikes, the beautiful interviewers. And we make big deals out of little ones, and let crooks off the hook. We haven't started any real wars yet, but give us time, we're just getting warmed up. And maybe if we are somewhat aware of this, we can try to offset it with a little bit of humanity. Maybe someone can speak up for the poor schnook who gets caught in the gears of the blogger's fear.