“We have met the enemy…
And they are ours”
Pogo did not say it first in the 60’s, it was Naval commander Oliver Hazard Perry at the battle of lake Erie in the war of 1812. It was an announcement that the US had won the battle.
Many times in the history of our great democracy there have been pronouncements by political, military, business, and other figures of note. they were reported into the annals of history by the media. there was a guy with a camera that made a great big poof of smoke and captured a still image of the event (carefully staged in some cases).
The media has often been the pawn of industry, covering train wrecks, accidents, ribbon cuttings, and acting as a clearinghouse for statements of grandeur.
THIS IS NO MORE.
Today the quote should be more along Pogo’s line, “we have met the enemy, and they are us”. For all the manipulation of the media in the past, that era is over. There is no longer a mainstream media. Now it is us.
Social media, is now media, and the rules of engagement have changed dramatically. there is no longer the line which must not be crossed. Woodward and Bernstein are no longer held to the highest standards of journalism. this is because the new journalists are the kid next door with a twitter account.
Politicians, Industry, and Individuals watch out. your fantasy of mainstream media is a fiction. Johnny can periscope you making an offhanded statement and it blows up because it is sensational. Blaming the media is blaming your constituency. Joe blow has more followers that you mailed last week, and he has more pull.
All the “major” networks include citizen journalism. This is nothing more than a way of outsourcing Dan Rather’s job. The networks are now a distribution channel with no more culpability than YouTube.
This can be a positive. Minor, local, issues now have a national, no, international audience. Sparks become fires and uprisings have fans. No one gets left behind in the revolution, when everyone is the media. The poor, the downtrodden, and the meek can now have a voice that roars. They can celebrate their cause and gain supporters of the emotional and financial ilk.
In 1791 these immortal words were written “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This applies to me as I live in the US. We are, through our most basic laws and tenants, free to participate in the media, as the media.
Calling out the media as an evil, is calling ourselves out. Blaming failures on the fact that some are looking too close, and exposing our weaknesses, is a direct attack on our own followers. We are all the media, we are all looking, and we are all reporting.