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. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 17 Nov 2009 @ 11:53am

    Re: Douglas Adams described something relevant

    Stanley Cup .... isn't that ice hockey?

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