The Internet As The Court Of Public Opinion

from the judge,-jury,-executioner? dept

We’ve had a lot of stories recently looking at how “the internet” is influencing a story, and I’m wondering if this means the internet is now the entire “courtroom for public opinion”? Just today we have a story about how the internet helped the push to force the resignation of the NY Times’ editors and a story about how Martha Stewart is spending millions of dollars in an online (and offline) campaign to get the court of public opinion on her side (though, interestingly, the article notes that she doesn’t have a privacy policy on her site – which the reporter thinks is a good thing (!!!) because it means she can use any emails she gets for whatever commercial purpose she wants). So, is it good to have the internet as the court of public opinion? While I’ve already stated that I think it’s good that obvious biases and misconstrued truths are brought out in public, how do you deal with situations where someone has millions of dollars to “influence” the court of public opinion? I’m not going to go back on my previous statements – as I do think that the benefits clearly outweigh the downsides. However, how long until there’s a story where the court of internet opinion takes a very strong position that is later determined to be faulty?

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