Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Posner on Blogs

A wide ranging article by Richard Posner on media and blogs. I hope ALA President and blog basher Michael Gorman reads this. (Although I'm not sure about that keeping tabs on the troublemakers part.)

Bad News - New York Times: "Some critics worry that ''unfiltered'' media like blogs exacerbate social tensions by handing a powerful electronic platform to extremists at no charge. Bad people find one another in cyberspace and so gain confidence in their crazy ideas. The conventional media filter out extreme views to avoid offending readers, viewers and advertisers; most bloggers have no such inhibition.

The argument for filtering is an argument for censorship. (That it is made by liberals is evidence that everyone secretly favors censorship of the opinions he fears.) But probably there is little harm and some good in unfiltered media. They enable unorthodox views to get a hearing. They get 12 million people to write rather than just stare passively at a screen. In an age of specialization and professionalism, they give amateurs a platform. They allow people to blow off steam who might otherwise adopt more dangerous forms of self-expression. They even enable the authorities to keep tabs on potential troublemakers; intelligence and law enforcement agencies devote substantial resources to monitoring blogs and Internet chat rooms."


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