Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Lockdown on Dissenting Opinion (Part I)

Some very interesting articles of late regarding the increasing marginalisation of thoughts that challenge the status quo. Firstly, Antony Loewenstein writes an excellent piece regarding the two-faced attitude of Fairfax over John Pilger's recently released book "Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism and its Triumphs ". Antony sums up at the end:
I have published the above correspondence and review to underscore the lengths to which dissenting voices are routinely shunned in the Australian media, especially a major figure like Pilger. He is one of our finest reporters, inquisitive, gutsy and consistent. Lest anybody misunderstand my intentions, the above example is a perfect case to me of the need for figures such as Pilger. The Age should be ashamed of its behaviour - I hope this example exposes them just a little.
I won't quote any more than that - go read it now for a good example of how the media marginalises journalists openly critical of the Imperial agenda.

Speaking of which, the Empire's protrusion into cyberspace, Google, looks like it's doing its bit for the eradication of dissenting media:
Now Google, whose name has become synonymous with internet searching, plans to build a database that will compare the track record and credibility of all news sources around the world, and adjust the ranking of any search results accordingly.

The database will be built by continually monitoring the number of stories from all news sources, along with average story length, number with bylines, and number of the bureaux cited, along with how long they have been in business. Google's database will also keep track of the number of staff a news source employs, the volume of internet traffic to its website and the number of countries accessing the site.

Google will take all these parameters, weight them according to formulae it is constructing, and distil them down to create a single value. This number will then be used to rank the results of any news search.

The patent also reveals that the same system could be roped in to rank other search results, not simply news. So sales and services could in the future be listed on the basis of price and the reputation of the company involved.
Interesting how this happens not too long after the blogger scoop on the Jeff Gannon scandal - embarassing not only the Bush Administration, but also the corporate media giants. There is good reason to be suspicious of Google - I also recall reading about problems that alternative media sites Signs Of The Times and What Really Happened both had with suddenly "disappearing" temporarily from Google's search results some time ago.

It appears however that major US newspapers may be losing ground slightly. Although I doubt that the mainstream public will ever turn away from the strobing cyclops in the lounge room for their news and current affairs, if a critical mass of enough people were to seek their information primarily from Internet-based media sources such as alternative news sites and blogs, who knows what kind of trickle-down or effects could occur?


At 9:47 am, Anonymous misswright said...

hey whippy,
Just thought I would post a comment because I can ;)


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