21 July, 2007

Blogging, Politics and Citizenship

The Blackfive coterie has been hitting it out of the park this last week, but Grim may have topped his brother writers with a post entitled "Harpers v. the Blogger's Roundtable; The Left v. Petraeus."

As usual with Grim, it touches on a wide range of subjects. You wouldn't guess it from the title, but it's really about citizenship and what "freedom of the press" (and speech) truly means.

Fellow Blackfive writer Laughing Wolf steps up with a response in comments that could be a post all its own:

What the guild doesn't like the curtain pulled back on is the entire concept of freedom of "the press" since even journalistic histories note that it meant free access to a/the press (no prior restraint) and not to a class of individuals or organizations. As has been noted on this site before, "the press" as a select group came out of the meatpacking scandals of early last century, and was firmly wrapped around the media technology and costs of same as they existed then. It is also worth noting that the Founding Father's did not necessarily like the media of the day, but they almost completely embraced the concept of citizen journalism (via that freedom to use the press) to support a robust, healthy, and even raucous debate on the issues of the day -- by all citizens. Little thing called the Marketplace of Ideas, which was a key underpinning to the great experiment that is America. The whole idea of "journalists" as an elite and privileged class exempt from common law (and decency) comes primarily from that time (though the seed can be seen in the famous "Fourth Estate" speech of the French Revolution). Members of the guild might want to read and think about this as they strive as hard as any robber baron to maintain a monopoly on selective presentation to and interpretation of facts, speeches, etc. As for me, I don't claim to be a journalist in the modern twist of definition, for I am not a citizen of the world above the common and not subject to common law (and decency). Rather, I am a Citizen of the United States of America, with the rights and responsibilities of same.

And Blackfive himself sums it up, commenting, "Holy crap, that's gonna leave a mark.." But not for the usual reasons--Grim dismantles his ideological opponents with philosophy, logic/intellect, and an implied call to honorable, engaged citizenship.

It's inspiring enough to brighten a dark day. Don't miss it.