There is always somebody out in cyberspace who knows more about whatever subject is being discussed, reported, shopped around, sold, lied about, misrepresented, underestimated, or damned with faint praise than the people who brought it up. Whoever would attempt to influence the netizen’s perception about anything must consider the rube’s new power to access and disseminate oppositional information embarrassing to the originators.
Cyber Guerrilla Chieftain Wretchard points out how the nosy netizens who make it a point to check when they catch a whiff of fresh cow pie have become QC for what’s left of the news business:
the Internet, and in particular the blogosphere, has become an unofficial part of the news cycle. It’s importance at fact checking has now reached the stage where it is relevant to ask whether with the availability of so many digital image and audio manipulation techniques to fraudsters any meaningful ‘news’ is still possible without the accompanying near real-time analysis by Internet pundits. The day-after scrutiny has become so much a part of the ‘news’ generation process that news would be significantly less reliable without it. Whether the task consists in noticing that Barack Obama is shaded too black in a Hillary Clinton campaign ad or observing that ‘missiles’ found in Afghan ruins are really unexploded 155 mm artillery shells, no major news story is accepted out of the box any more until it is prodded, poked and assayed.
You might think a guy with a handle like mine would perk up over photographs of unexploded howitzer projectiles being represented as American missiles, and you’d be right. I had just returned from that theater back then. I was in Iraq when PVT Beauchamp’s hoax was debunked by people who smelled the bull shit and kept digging until they uncovered the cow pie. I’m grateful that they did. Beauchamp would have been the Lynndie England of the Surge otherwise. Bloggers acted as a force multiplier for The Good Guys on that and many other stories.
Some of us will never accept the word of a Walter Cronkite or Dan Rather at face value again. That train has left the station. Not only are we not buying what they’re selling anymore, we’re killing the demand for their product.
Old Media must be destroyed.