Sunday, April 03, 2005

bigger than blogging

Amy Goodman will be in southwest Florida this week, and so is getting some local mainstream press attention - for, as far as I am aware, the first time ever in the area. Attention to her book, Exception to the Rulers, and to her show, Democracy Now!. And to her methods.

Here's a bit on the latter, based on an anecdote from in the book involving a call from then President Clinton on Election Day 2000:
Just as "Democracy Now!" was about to go on the air, she got a call from "White House Communications" saying that the president would like to call in to the show that morning, to which she said, "Yeah, right, whatever."

But the president did indeed call in.

"I felt it was a tremendous opportunity to ask him some questions," said Goodman. Their conversation lasted 30 minutes and was contentious. After the interview was broadcast the next day, Goodman got a call from the White House press office, complaining that she had not followed the ground rules.

"'Ground rules?' I asked. 'What ground rules? He called up to be interviewed, and I interviewed him,'" Goodman relates in her book.

"'He called to discuss getting out the vote, and you strayed from the topic. You also kept him on much longer than the two to three minutes we agreed to,' she huffed.

"'President Clinton is the most powerful person in the world,' I replied.'He can hang up when he wants to.'"
Noteworthy that:

1. Back then, in that other world, the White House actually acknowledged public media, and independent public media, even as it expected them to obey certain customary protocols.

2. Goodman's complete demolition of protocols. Protocols -- such as the White House Press Corps' submission routines -- are a means by which mainstream media defines its very being. I.e., in the tedious journalism vs. blogger debates, one thing that comes up is how journalists are such by virtue of submission to certain codes of conduct, rules of ethics, debate formulae and the like, and bloggers are not. But in Goodman's eyes, the interview is something between persons (not institutions) who are free. Instead of rules, there are the choices each freely makes. If in the end the published result is not what the interviewee would have wanted, it is nonetheless what they put there.

3. Goodman's no-rules approach is often claimed as a distinguishing feature of bloggers, but it's bigger than blogging: It's open dialogue.


Blogger Jon Husband said...

amazing concept that .. adult-to-adult conversation, bothg free to choose, without vestigial structure or bits of ermine sticking to their lips ....

4/06/2005 7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Contrary to the opinion of that officious Tutor-person, things are imploding, and - I'm not "just passing by" and - I am "a crowd".

4/13/2005 3:13 AM  

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