Twitter and Facebook have been widely credited with enabling citizens to upend dictatorial regimes.But while oppressive governments were initially caught off guard by the new media tools, those still in power appear finally to be catching on. In some cases they are happily embracing social networking to play Big Brother in a way never before possible.Many governments struggling with dissent appear to be using a double-barreled strategy to fight back against the so-called Facebook revolutions: classic repression and by promoting their own views using the very same platforms.
I haven’t paid much attention to the uprisings in Africa and the Middle East so far, and when I have tried to read about it, I find it difficult to keep my eyes focused on the page instead of rolling around in their sockets, given how many people only want to talk about social media’s supposed role in all this. When I kept seeing the story pop up about the Egyptian guy who named his newborn child “Facebook”, I pretty much threw my hands up in defeat and went back to more interesting things.
Social networking mattered in Egypt, but the root causes of the uprising were scarcity, official corruption and social conflict, none of which fit the cyber-utopian narrative or flatter America’s technological vanity.…The unfortunate propensity to log on to the web and pronounce it a global revolution in the offing is what Morozov dubs “the Google Doctrine”—the overconfident conviction, inherited from the West’s cold war propaganda, that the simple transmission of information beyond the reach of state-sanctioned channels has the power to topple authoritarian regimes. But just as the Eastern bloc’s downfall had far more to do with the internal stresses besieging the dying Soviet order, so does the Google Doctrine paper over a vast nexus of real-world causation in global affairs.…It has never been the case that authoritarians are allergic to information technologies. Quite the contrary: as pioneers in the production of mass propaganda, they love mass media, and maintain an intense interest in later-generation digital technologies such as GPS and Twitter location that permit them to plot the real-time whereabouts of online dissidents. Yet one never encounters these uses of digital technologies in Shirky-style broadsides on cyber-liberation; in them, digital technology by definition unleashes and pools human creativity and generosity, because that’s what we Western progenitors of these technologies like to imagine them doing.…”While many in the West concede that the Internet has not solved and may have only aggravated many negative aspects of political culture,” as is the case with James O’Keefe’s gotcha YouTube videos, “they are the first to proclaim that when it comes to authoritarian states, the Internet enables their citizens to see through the propaganda. Why so many of their own fellow citizens—living in a free country with no controls on freedom of expression—still believe extremely simplistic and misleading narratives when all the facts are just a Google search away is a question that Western observers should be asking more often.”
The host of HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” said O’Reilly’s interview with President Barack Obama before the Superbowl was “astounding” and disrespectful, and forced Obama to swallow a great deal of “guff.”The Fox host interrupted the president 42 times in the 15-minute interview, as O’Donnell recently revealed on his show.“I just feel like the most difficult part of his job must be to squelch the rage that somewhere must be inside and say, I’m the president of the United States. You don’t talk to me like this. I’m not some left — I’m not Al Sharpton, you know. I won this job,” Maher said.“And Bill O’Reilly, who claims he’s such a patriot, how unpatriotic to treat a president that way. How does that look to other countries when you’re interrupting and belittling.”
DiCaprio then called himself half-Russian, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported.
Putin has carefully cultivated a tough-guy image throughout his political career, using strong language in speeches and practicing judo and even co-piloting a fighter jet in front of the television cameras.His latest stunt came earlier this month, when Putin burned rubber on a racing circuit in a Formula One car.
Violent J learns how the infotainment sausage gets made:
To be honest with you, at one point—and this is what’s insane—they took my response to one question and edited it so I looked like I was responding to another question. And what’s scary to me is that this is Nightline. This is a respected piece of American journalism, and they were full of shit. That just makes me think, 90 percent of what I watch is full of shit. I couldn’t believe what they did with us, with the $10 million thing. He was so clever, the way he was saying, “No, no, no, Violent. I never said that, Violent.” It’s so clever what he’s doing—it was so clever! Then they had me sitting on the edge of my chair to make it look like I was getting mad. In reality, that was my response to another question. It was just so clever the way they did that.
One of these kids is doing his own thingC’mon, can you tell me which one?Can you guess which kid is doing his own thing?Before my song is done?And now my song is done.– Sesame Street
It’s one of the most frustrating aspects of the Villager mentality. Liberals are misrepresented terribly in the media and it’s glacially slow in changing. I’m hopeful that it is happening, but the social and professional structure of organizations are very difficult to change without a consciousness of the problems. And I don’t see much media consciousness of this problem. And to the extent they understand it, they are misapplying the lessons.
The Washington Post is a corporation, required by law to make as much money as possible. In order to make as much money as possible, businesses cater to their customers. The main customers of the Washington Post are their advertisers, who are mostly other big corporations. Big corporations, for obvious reasons, like it when people are misled about economic policy, the Great Depression, FDR, etc.That’s really all there is to it.
“Mr. Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family,” Admiral Mullen said.
Maybe I’m wrong and we do need a national “dialogue on race,” but my guess is that if Barack Obama figures out a way to turn the economy around and create some real paying jobs, a lot of this racial angst will disappear pretty quick. If you tune out the hottest parts of the Tea Party rhetoric and just focus on who these people are, what you’ll basically see are a bunch of middle-aged white people who spent their teens listening to Eddie Murphy albums and deep down are a lot more worried about their credit card debt than they are about ACORN taking over the government. Add a little more disposable income to that crowd and this whole debate will recede to tolerable levels. Or maybe not — but we can all hope, I guess.