Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Main stream media does business as usual while history is being made

I was looking at CNN last night, expecting the usual MSM spin, but what I saw was a huge omission of what was happening on the streets, not only of Tehran, but throughout Iran. They even tried to show what looked like comparable demonstrations by pro Ahmadinajad groups, while downplaying the largest demonstrations since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Is it just me, or does the main stream media seem to be asleep while history is being made?

A rally in Isfahan, Iran on Monday, led by a crew of bikers.

This is it. The big one

TEDBlog 16 June 2009

Q&A with Clay Shirky on Twitter and Iran

NYU professor Clay Shirky gave a fantastic talk on new media during our TED@State event earlier this month. He revealed how cellphones, the web, Facebook and Twitter had changed the rules of the game, allowing ordinary citizens extraordinary new powers to impact real-world events. As protests in Iran exploded over the weekend, we decided to rush out his talk, because it could hardly be more relevant. I caught up with Clay this afternoon to get his take on the significance of what is happening. HIs excitement was palpable.

What do you make of what's going on in Iran right now.
I'm always a little reticent to draw lessons from things still unfolding, but it seems pretty clear that ... this is it. The big one. This is the first revolution that has been catapulted onto a global stage and transformed by social media. I've been thinking a lot about the Chicago demonstrations of 1968 where they chanted "the whole world is watching." Really, that wasn't true then. But this time it's true ... and people throughout the world are not only listening but responding. They're engaging with individual participants, they're passing on their messages to their friends, and they're even providing detailed instructions to enable web proxies allowing Internet access that the authorities can't immediately censor. That kind of participation is reallly extraordinary.

Which services have caused the greatest impact? Blogs? Facebook? Twitter?
It's Twitter. One thing that Evan (Williams) and Biz (Stone) did absolutely right is that they made Twitter so simple and so open that it's easier to integrate and harder to control than any other tool. At the time, I'm sure it wasn't conceived as anything other than a smart engineering choice. But it's had global consequences. Twitter is shareable and open and participatory in a way that Facebook's model prevents. So far, despite a massive effort, the authorities have found no way to shut it down, and now there are literally thousands of people arond the world who've made it their business to help keep it open.



  1. .
    I was a student in NY at a school full of foreign students from all over, back in the 70's. They were the elite of their countries, though most of the one's I befriended were liberals or socialists. I could have told you that change was coming in Ethiopia or Iran or half a dozen other countries, back then.

    Curiously, the MSM and the CIA could not. They were as shocked by the first Iranian Revolution as they are by the second, if that's what this is. And they were getting paid, and spending lots of money collecting information, supposedly.

    If they'd only invested some of that in a few pitchers of beer at the West End, they could have saved the Shah. Thank Gawd they didn't. But their ignorance and misdeeds also paved the way for the Ayatollahs. Wish I'd picked up a phone, back then.

    Today, I suppose the bar & grill has been replaced by the Web & txt msg. I wonder if the "pro's" are paying attention?

    You know, the sad thing is, people all over the world still look to this country with hope and even admiration, for the people and the culture of the US. It's just the government and big business that they hate. So, we have a lot in common, after all. And that's what the media seem determined to obfuscate.

  2. Yep, ordinary shumans share the same needs and wants everywhere on our incredible shrinking planet. We all dream of fresh air, pure water, and something to share at the table that comes from natural sources.

    Most countries thought that the US was the coolest, and emulated the blues tradition in music and jazz. Lead Belly, Ray Charles, Jimmy Reed, Buddy Holly.

    I guess that we have lost a lot of respect, for not standing up to the corporate government. The politics of fear mongering and the terrible events since y2k have taken their toll.

    I was to the museum board here for a while, and a few of us knew about the Bu$h administration, but couldn't speakout at a meeting even when we heard support for the war. That's how divided people are in this country and the Neocons are still busy doing the same thing...G:

  3. The CIA has been involved more in domestic propaganda/meme control for the past 60 some-odd years than in international spying, thus the various intelligence failures and the world's scratching their collective heads at we Amurrikkkan's obvious igorance.

    *sigh* The wheel turns...