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A recent editorial in a Wayne County area newspaper qualifies as one of the few with which I ever agreed 100%. The author comments about how the various media overreact to, overstate, under-research and remove from context information they receive before they release it to the gullible public. To which I add, all done in the name of being the first to spread the word, regardless of its accuracy.

The author cited the baby monitor recall and a doctor's dishonest report regarding childhood vaccinations and autism. He pointed out a reporting incident that formed an apparent connection between use of diet soda and a large increase in the risk of strokes, and of course there was the old standby that eating too many eggs would make you die. He left out the Toyota recall fiasco and the promised H1N1 flu pandemic. Effectively, those turned out to be apparent exaggerations of small-scale case studies with incomplete or flawed results, absolute lies or reports that were blown out of porportion. He also cited an apparent lack of common sense among the American public for being the cause of much consternation among themselves.

Of course, as word spreads faster than wildfire these days, within hours, the electronically connected world populous had taken the news as gospel, rather than gossip, and away it went. People who seem to lack the aforesaid common sense are often the first to react. Suddenly everyone was texting, emailing, Facebooking or Tweeting the information to everyone else. Before you could blink, the world was full of experts with unquestionable and undeniable "facts" about those subjects, and everyone became very afraid or called their lawyers to get up a lawsuit.

However, last week another side of the story came to light in Egypt as crowds of demonstrators that had gathered in Cairo and other cities saw their initial intent succeed. They marched and chanted, sang and talked to the media for eighteen days, demanding that President Hosni Mubarak step down as leader, which apparently ended his thirty-year reign.

It all began when one man started an Internet blog/chat campaign that soon spread to about half a million of his countrymen. Push came to shove, and they decided to demonstrate about their complaints and demanded Mubarak's resignation. Recognizing the relevance of the Internet to the disturbance, the government tried to shut down the public's connections to each other and the rest of the world. Fortunately for the people, it did not work.

The word was out and not only did the world know about it, but they were watching as it happened. Reporters flocked into the Cairo site, were physically assaulted by security police, regrouped and went back. Human determination and persistence prevailed and the Internet and electronic communications had not only played a key rold in inciting the movement, but in its ultimate success.

The thought comes to mind that twenty or even ten years ago that would not have happened. when such technological capabilities were in the hands of a chosen few, news could be, and was edited, censored or completely squelched. Now, with the Internet and cellphones in the hands of so many of the common people all over the world, things will never be the same.


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2 Comments to "Re: the Internet, the Media and public reaction"

  1. Anonymous Said,

    Thank Goodness

    Posted on Tue Feb 15, 06:24:00 AM EST

  2. Anonymous Said,

    Perhaps our society has collectively become intellectually lazy and lacks adequate critical thinking capabilities. Certainly many journalists reflect these characteristics. A vicious circle.

    Posted on Tue Feb 15, 02:22:00 PM EST


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