Tag Archives: Fox News

Iran Protests- A New Day For Social Media?

There is no doubt that social media (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and the like) is playing a crucial role in the continuing protests surrounding the Iranian presidential election. There is no more definitive proof than the futile efforts of the government of that country to stop the flow of information such sites are providing. It’s like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube. The more the government cracks down, the more tweets, blogposts, and YouTube videos appear.

And that’s all good. This activity will show people around the world that one unintended by-product of the Internet age is the difficulty in using traditional means to censor opposition speech. In fact, one could argue that without the constant stream of worldwide coverage there might not have been a recount of some votes, nor the admission Monday that there were at least 3 million “irregularities”.

However, there are also a few caveats for this brave new world of social networking news coverage. While it’s true that US media have either had severe restrictions put on their coverage (and yes, some journalists have been detained) or have been banned outright, the reliance on social media by CNN, Fox News, MSNBC etc. comes with some risks. The news outlets say the tweets and footage they’ve aired has been fully verified. I would take them at their word on that (some might not).

Yet isn’t there something just a little off putting about gigantic news organizations being reliant on citizen journalists? If I worked for one of those outlets, I’d be nervous. Somewhere in the bowels of these big news groups is an accountant whose wondering whether this type of coverage can be used in other applications. And whether that outlet needs as much high priced talent as they now utilize if Twitter subscribers will do the work for them at little or no cost.

Think it can’t happen? Consider that back in the day, the big network news operations and major newspapers had bureaus around the world. Fast forward to now, and you see that few of them do. Oh, and those same big networks are taking a back seat in their Iranian coverage to the 24 hour cable networks. In other words, we are seeing a paradigm shift in news gathering and coverage. While it may not be a bad thing, we ought to ask if the quality of the news we’re consuming is up to snuff.

I’m not saying it isn’t, but these social networking sites can be manipulated on a number of different levels. Iran is an example where they’ve appeared to have done some good. We all ought to be aware that there could be another shoe, and one day that one may drop.

You tell me. Has social networking coverage of the Iranian protests been a good thing?

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Who is Responsible for Tiller's Murder?

In the minds of some, it simply (and allegedly) Scott Roeder, the person in custody for the shooting of the Kansas doctor who performed late term abortions. For others, the net of responsibility can be cast much, much further. The murder of Dr. George Tiller, inside his local church, has set off an entirely predictable firestorm of accusations between supporters and opponents of abortion.

Tiller

Some progressive bloggers and Websites heap blame on Fox News screamer Bill O’Reilly, who has referenced Tiller as “Tiller the baby killer” on more than one occasion. O’Reilly, of course rejects such criticisms, saying the killing should be condemned and the focus should instead be on what he says are the 60,000 abortions Dr. Tiller performed.

At the same time, some abortion opponents pour gas on the fire by saying in essence, that Tiller got what he deserved. These apologists for murder are truly dangerous, in that they see themselves as somehow outside of and above the law. They feel they have a God given right to kill. Dr. George Tiller was a perfect symbol for them, a man unafraid to do what he felt was right.

George Tiller had survived being shot, having his clinic bombed, and the picketing of his home and office. He wasn’t just steadfast, he was defiant. Now questions center on whether his murder will have a chilling effect not just on abortion providers but on women seeking them as well. For some, that chilling effect is worth Dr. Tiller’s life.

Randall Terry, the founder of the anti abortion group Operation Rescue says about Tiller’s death “He reaped what he sowed”. That statement speaks volumes not just about Terry, but about the outer fringe of the anti abortion movement in this country. One can’t be sure that common ground with them can actually be found, as President Obama referenced in his speech at Notre Dame.

One question about this entire ugly set of events has yet to be answered. Both Scott Roeder’s ex-wife and his brother say he was mentally unbalanced. If that is true, and he is George Tiller’s murderer, how did he manage to procure the gun he used? Time after time people are killed with guns, and we never stop to ask where the gun was purchased, whether it was legal, and if proper background checks were done. 

Gun violence, as we should know by now, isn’t the sole province of the inner city. Shouldn’t we be asking how many other zealots (regardless of cause) have access to guns, bombs, and other weapons? While we’re at it, shouldn’t the anti abortion movement take a long look in the mirror, and ask themselves if they want to be portrayed as murderers?

You tell me.

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