Traditional Media, The New York Times, Proves the Relevance of the Blogging World

A frontpage headline in The New York Times today reads, “In Court Ruling On Executions, A Factual Flaw: Blog Points to a Change Justices Overlooked.”

The article is ostensibly about the ruling issued by the Supreme Court about how child-rapists (probably the world’s worst people) can’t be executed, and how it recently came to light that according to military court-marshaling procedure, a recent change by President Bush allows for the execution of child-rapists (which we learned the Supreme Court just prevented). None of the Justices’ analyses of the case mention this law but in fact rule in the opposite direction without citing this law in any way. Now sure, there’s a difference between the military and the civilian world spheres, but that’s no reason that a 2006 law should be ignored as precedent or worth acknowledgment in a case like this. However, I’m not concerned with child-rape, the Supreme Court, capital punishment or any related issue (well, I am, but not in the context of this post) so why am I telling you about this?

I’m sharing this because of how the information about the president’s new court-marshaling law was brought to the forefront: WITH A BLOG POST!!!

That’s right, Dwight Sullivan, a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve and a civilian defense lawyer for the Air Force (info acquired from NYT, July 2, 2008), titled his blog “The Supremes Dis the Military Justice System” and indeed, this is how The New York Times, one of the world’s media giants and traditional means of reporting the news, discovered this fascinating fact. That is, blogs are informing traditional media. What does this mean?

Well, first, it tells us the power of the internet and the blogging world. Sure, gazillions of people put their useless thoughts and opinions on the internet every day (me being 1-gazillionth of that contributing population), and they’re not all helpful or interesting (welcome to The Zen of South Park Blog), but the fact that the very existence of blogging provides absolutely anyone with access to the internet the power to affect what people know and the way they think is startling and amazing. This is the democratization of communication and information distribution at its finest, and this is the hallmark of the globalization age: the democratization of power and instruments. I love that. Sure, it’s not easy to execute sometimes and there’s no guarantee that anyone will read what you write but at a very basic level, everyone has the ability to communicate with the world and thereby affect it – not just the editors of The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and BBC.

What do you think about this fact? Amazing or a shame? Do you have an experience that adds dimension to this basic reality of our age? Do you think things will continue in this direction or revert to a world in which the power to spread and acquire information is in the hands of the few rather than the many?

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