White Sox Confidential

The "New" Media

And now we interrupt our regularly scheduled White Sox discussion for a piece of the real world.

A very, very strange and bizarre situation today where a blogger has been arrested for literally threatening to kill some Federal judges on his web site.

From all indications, Hal Turner is "out there" and has as much connection with respectable media as Mork from Ork, OK?...however this brings up something that the 'new' media (aka blogs) and the 'mainstream' media are going to have to resolve somehow, someway.

Today,especially with conventional media outlets like the Chicago Tribune getting into the blogging world, and with computers easily obtainable by most people, the question of accountability comes into play.

I'm been in the mainstream media for 30 years, I worked in TV sports for 15, have worked on staff and as a free lancer for newspapers, I do a lot of radio work...I've seen good reporters and I've seen bad reporters, but one thing the mainstream media does expect is accountability.

You say or do outrageous things and can't back them up and eventually you're going to get sued or fired or both. Remember the New York Times reporter a few years ago who fabricated a story and if memory serves won a Pulitzer Prize? Closer to home, how about Jay Mariotti, late of the Chicago Sun-Times who never ventured into a clubhouse, openly took quotes from other reporters, yet thought he had the right to verbally attack individuals in the most caustic, insulting way possible. Eventually it caught up to him.

But in the blogging world, by and large, there are no rules of accountability. Anyone can basically post whatever they want somewhere and not be held to task for it.

Working for ChicagoNow I'm held to task for what I say, but if Joe Blow from Des Moines writes something henious on a Tribune web site, what can be done about it? Maybe someone catches it and the post is removed but then he goes elsewhere and does it again...and again...and again.  There are some crazy folks out there and that's a fact.

We've all seen, even at sports web sites, some of the most outrageous, vile, disgusting trash posted by people who think that because they aren't speaking with someone face to face, they can write anything they want. They try to bully and intimidate, people instead of discussing things.

I for one, was really happy to see that someone is in fact 'watching' the new media. Turner went way over the line and was nailed for it.

That's a great first step. Since people aren't going to become civil no matter how hard you ask them to, safeguards need to be created by smart people that eventually will stop completely or drastically reduce the flow of disgusting, intimidating, racial things being posted everyday, somewhere on the internet.

I think that eventually something will be invented and people held accountable for what they  write regardless of if they are employed by the Tribune or sitting in their living room in Oak Lawn.

  

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4 Comments

webegeek said:

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Mark,

Good comments on an interesting topic. The media of the world is changing and we still have yesterday's rules.

I'm not sure how accountable the print media and TV media is of late. Polling with questionable samples to push agendas is a big time problem now. I've gotten to the point now I don't believe much of what I read or hear until I can check it. Then again, even sites such as fact check have to be taken with a critical eye because if you follow back the money, it goes to the same group that funded the community organization that Obama worked for years ago.

I'm almost more comfortable using news sites where I already know there is a bias and agenda because it's easier to balance the information.

It's obvious now with network and cable news that each has a bias, blogs too. As for what is said about public figures, it gets a little dicey because you can pretty much say anything about a public figure. Of course, threatening their life is another story and that is what happened in this bloggers case and he should be shut down and have legal troubles for that kind of behavior.

Mark Liptak said:

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Hi Webe:

You bring up some interesting points. Today of course every media company has its tentacles into other related media and or independent areas so you're right, it's very hard to figure out exactly why they are saying or writing something in a particular way. Tribune Company is no different from any of the others in that regard.

The days of a truly "independent media" either in TV, radio, or newspapers is a thing of the past.

And that's a great point about a new media operating under the old rules (or no rules) I think what happened is that the internet caught all the media off guard, no one was prepared for the impact of it or how quickly it has permeated everyday living. Because they were caught off guard they are scrambling to play catch-up, to work with it, to embrace it, if you will.

It's still an evolving understanding and establishing rules and the technology to enforce those rules is developing as well.

Where it all leads, honestly, I don't know and I suspect they will still be trying to figure it out long after I've passed on.

Mark

Joe the Cop said:

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I have to tell you, I cringe when I see Hal Turner referred to as a "blogger".

The thing with Turner is not that he's saying offensive things, because anyone has a right to do that. It's when he goes out of his way to be deliberately threatening and intimidating. In this case he not only said judges needed to be killed, and threatened them, but he posted their names and addresses online to make it easier to do so.

Mark Liptak said:

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Hi Joe!

Right or wrong though what he posted was via the internet so I guess the term blogger is an accurate one.

And I respectfully disagree to an extent about being allowed to say offensive things. I'm not a politically correct person by any means but I don't think people have a right to cross the line in a public forum. That means saying things that are racially, religiously or sexually derogatory, or illegal or trying to bully or intimidate people via message boards. You want to say them in your home or with close friends? Great...no worries but once it's in a public setting I draw the line.

I'll discuss anything, I don't have an issue with that but I don't think it's to much to ask for anyone in a public forum to show some decorum, some respect. This is a big issue with me.

I absolutely hate and loath the 'one liners', the 'ripping' on individuals on message boards. Attacking them personally and not talking about the issue. That drives me nuts.

Let's talk about the issue like a intelligent person would, not like a bunch of street thugs.

Sooner or later something is going to be invented to hold folks accountable for what they post in a public forum just like the mainstream media is held accountable. I firmly believe that. Once that happens you'll see a lot of this junk disappear in my opinion.

Mark

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