Ways Not To Keep Bloggers Quiet: Take Away Their Pens

from the seems-pointless dept

While it's likely that some of the blog-crowd will have fun with the story about a blogger whose pen was taken away when he showed up at a "no media allowed" event (even though he was invited to it) for Katie Couric, a more interesting question is whether or not the whole concept of a "no media allowed" event even makes the slightest sense these days. It's a concept that only works when there's a separate and well-defined "media." That just doesn't exist any more -- which you'd think big media firms would recognize, since they have no problem asking everyday citizens to contribute on news stories as "citizen journalists" as a story is breaking. A "no media allowed" event these days simply means an event that no one can attend. Besides, it's hard to even imagine what the thought process was that convinced someone that taking away someone's pen would effectively render them mute on the event. Other than that, it's probably worth noting that a so-called "listening tour" would involve blocking out the folks who would help generate the most conversation. Apparently, in the TV world, listening only takes place in special rooms with invited guests only.

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  1. identicon
    I, for one, 12 Jul 2006 @ 5:23pm

    Pot meet Kettle

    The idea of a media free zone does sound rather impossible.

    What measures do you need to accomplish this? Scan everyone entering a giant Faraday cage with metal detectors? Shoot down any satelites that might be pointing down on your property? Exactly which planet do you need to go to escape potential observation and information leaks?

    But last month I described this exact scenario with regard to the direction sports stadiums are taking.

    It seems the control freaks have a dilemma. It's possible to have a ubiquitous media reaching into everybodys lives, and it's possible to control it, but not both.

    What's interesting is that Katie Couric is a media personality, known for hosting on CBS . Had she been an ordinary citizen holding a private function, say at a relatives funeral where "media intrusion" was unwelcome I could sympathise more with the aims. As it happens, after reading the source story I can't see the *point* she was trying to make by declaring it such an event. To prove the impossibility of it?

    Those who support the idea of a open and wired society where everybody is under constant observation had better get used to one fundamental truth very quickly. It applies to them too.

    If you advocate intrusive surveillance without permission you better get happy with the fact that the same cameras and wiretaps are going to be exposing you and your own familys affairs sooner or later.

    Those who see themselves as special, as part of some elite inside media or organisation that calls the rules on who is legitimate "media" and who is merely consumer/observer/subject are in for the wakeup shock of their lives over the next decade or so.

    On the other hand, maybe this runaway ideological juggernaut over an "information society" will be stopped by some common sense before it's too late and we will start to discuss issues like the "Right to privacy" and the "Value of my personal data and actions".

    These are both impossible cans of worms in their own way, but so far they haven't even been heard in the debate. All we hear is the old arguments cast in terms of intellectual property and the assumed rights of corporations to control them. We never actually ask where those rights came from, whether they are still reasonable and who are the real rights holders from which "property" has been misappropriated - for example real artists vs the "association" who exploit them to lie to the public about filesharing, or ordinary phone users vs the telcos who sell their private correspondence to marketeers and government spy agencies.

    Maybe Matt Bartel (who's pen was confistcated) and Katie Couric
    (the media "star" of the event) should get together and do an in depth analysis of the double standards in society over what it is moral/ethical/allowable/desirable for media observers (human and automated) to access, and to what extent the subjects of that observation have a right to deny it, control it, or otherwise protect their private affairs.

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