Chicago Tribune Columnist: Hey You People Online With Opinions... Get Off My Lawn!

from the that-bad,-huh? dept

Reader Cannen alerts us to yet another column by yet another old school newspaper guy whining about the fact that "the people" now have the ability to have their voices heard. What's funny is that his own column seems to contradict his statements.
Don't get me wrong. I am also an outraged narcissist, but I had to work six-hour shifts in Bakersfield, Calif., to earn my stripes as a communicator. Nowadays, having a Twitter page qualifies a person to give commentary on CNN. I am not interested in the take of @stinky on the Fort Hood shootings or any other current events. I am watching CNN because I expect them to gather the news, not act as a clearinghouse for any bonehead with a computer, a cable modem and a half-baked opinion.
Ah yes, so because today it's easier for people to have a voice, it's bad. Yes, and you used to walk to school uphill both ways in the snow and television was called radio and had no pictures. But the world improves and progress comes along and gives more people a voice and that's bad how exactly?
With the advent of Twitter, Facebook, instant messaging and texting, now almost any fool can set up his or her broadcast hub. Then the likes of CNN, Fox News, Oprah and even the Tribune play right into their hands, giving them instant access to the rest of the world. I beseech the online editors at this paper to turn off the "comments" after each article. If people have opinions about something that they've just read, let them write a letter to the editor.
Yes, but "any fool" doesn't get quite the attention as, say, a fool who blasts the fact that people have a voice in a major national newspaper, right? Who cares that anyone can say what they want. Most people don't see those complaints. You call it a "broadcast hub" but most people's Twitter accounts don't have very many followers. That's not the issue at all. The actual complaint seems to be that CNN and Fox and others have elevated a few of these folks (a tiny percentage of the overall population using these tools), and you don't like it because.... what, exactly? Because they compete with you in being a public "fool"?
Most of my career has been spent in radio, where call-in comments are somewhat encouraged. The main difference is that we can hang up on people.
Ok, let me get this straight. Before you were complaining that CNN and Fox were putting these people on their shows, but then you say at least on radio you could "hang up on people." Do you not sense the contradiction? CNN and Fox can just as easily "hang up" on these people too. So what's the difference?

Basically, it sounds like the guy is pissed off that he's no longer the only person with an opinion getting heard. But, of course, he's missing the point in blaming the new technology. Yes, lots of people have a voice, but most still don't get heard very far. The folks who are getting on TV or are making their voices heard are because they're saying something that resonates, whether it's stupid or not. And, no, maybe they didn't have to practice being a public moron in some small town first, but is that really a necessity?

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2009 @ 8:34am

    Re:

    "I am not interested in the take of @stinky on the Fort Hood shootings or any other current events."

    then don't read his comments. No one is forcing you to.

    "Most of my career has been spent in radio, where call-in comments are somewhat encouraged. The main difference is that we can hang up on people. "

    Yes, you can hang up on those who disagree with you and keep the calls from people that agree with you and your self serving agenda (those who present views that favor the American plutocracy). You can simply hang up on the masses because the government isn't here to serve the masses, they're here to serve the rich and the masses should have no voice. Now thanks to the Internet the masses do have a voice and people like you want to take away their voice because you think that only position that agree with the rich should have a voice. You think that only your opinion matters and only opinions that agree with you and opposing views should simply be hung up on.

    At least you tacitly admit that the attempts by the mainstream media and big corporations to stop the Internet isn't about encouraging good journalism but it's about hanging up on the masses and hanging up on the views that disagree with you.

    "With the advent of Twitter, Facebook, instant messaging and texting, now almost any fool can set up his or her broadcast hub."

    With the mainstream media only the fools who support the American plutocracy gets a broadcast hub and the masses get censored. The government SHOULD exist to serve the masses but you admit that you don't want the masses to have a voice. If the government is to serve the masses it should be the masses that have a voice, not just those who agree with you. Otherwise we're better off without a government.

    "If people have opinions about something that they've just read, let them write a letter to the editor. "

    That way if the opinion disagrees with the plutocracy they can simply be ignored. Why should any entity have the power to decide which views get communicated and which views don't? Because their views can't compete with those views that they censor? If their views can compete then why not convince us with arguments instead of trying to brainwash us with censorship of criticisms and opposing views?

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