New York Times’ Gross Misrepresentation of the Internet

I get really irritated when mainstream media misinterpret internet media for lack of knowledge or lack of consideration in fair and unbiased explanation of this new form of media to their readers whom they have a responsibility to educate and inform.

The focus of my ire now is David Pogue, a blogger under the NYT blog portfolio that is prominently featured under the New York Times Technology section. The full link is here. The root of his argument was his moaning of the lack of civility on the internet, especially how other responders on Digg, blogs lack “respect for adults” and “how hostile *ordinary* people are to each other online these days..”. He also mentions the ‘kneejerk “everyone else is an idiot” tenor (that) is poisoning the potential the Internet once had.The target of his criticism that he brought up at the very start of his article was a teenager of 15 years old who lambasted David as being “full of ****/ (shit)” in a Zune review. Granted that he did provide some valid points about the anonymity of the internet, I saw it as a fruitless and inconstructive source for his attack into how parents are not teaching social skills to their kids and the lack of courtesy on the net.

I left a comment in response to his inaccurate and highly confusing, if negative picture he is painting to the audience that reads NYT regularly, especially prominent business execs and lawmakers who have repeatedly demonstrated an abject lack of how to handle the popular web and its many components. My comments are reproduced in full below.

“I am #330 in a highly active forum. I don’t want to provide ammo to reinforce your point. But I didn’t want to start off as being overly civil and formal either by starting to address you as Sir, or dotting my “i”s here. But I hope you read this post nonetheless and get my message.

You are a responsible journalist writing for a respectable newspaper. THe least I expect is a balanced article. For the multitudes out there reading this paper, I don’t think they know alot about Web 2.0 and you are painting a very skewed picture for them from your position of influence in NYT Online. I was hoping you will be pointing out some positive examples towards the end of your post but you disappointed me. Do not reinforce stereotypes of the Net. Many lawmakers read NYT ( i think) and hence u do not just have a professional responsibility to live up to but a political one as well. The last thing we need is them to think again that the internet world is not just populated by irresponsible spammers, phishers, porn-seeking desperados dominating these “series of tubes” (refer to Jon Stewart and the esteemed Senator Ted Stevens). You are adding uncivility to this mix now, which is adding to the confusion that beset may of the lawmakers again. I hear even John McCain has come out against the blogosphere questioning the low barriers to self-expression found on blogs today. The internet captures the real world in its diversity. If you do not like it, move on to a different site. As long as they do cross moral and social domains such as security.

I like to hark back to the economist John Adams’s “Invisible Hand” analogy and say that we should allow the Internet to somewhat be self-regulated by an invisible force of self-regulation by responsible Net users. The Internet’s not perfect, focus on the positives and the negatives will sort themselves out.”


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