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We Are The Machine: Politics, News, and the Internet

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Remember in the '50s how we all worried about someone's finger hovering over the 'war button' and a simple hiccup or a sneeze launching us into war once more? The panic button that would send a bomb off to decimate another land?

It's a whole lot more likely to happen now with our busy little fingers having access to the world as we're able to reach across the globe and tempers flare. If you were fearful of one panic button, think about billions of buttons being out there! It's called "the keyboard".

On the other hand, – if you'll allow me that pun – we also have the capacity to stop it. To not allow others to fully control our thoughts any longer. Using intelligence and wisdom from history, we can make our government truly ours. As it was meant to be.

History will show that the greatest single mistake the Bush war machine made was to underestimate the impact of the Internet. They didn't understand the Internet or the Internet culture, its sociology, and most important, how access to the Internet transformed Americans from mere accepters of broadcast information into active and critical participants in the information process. They waved off Internet news sources as just hobbies run by computer geeks for other computer geeks to tap into. Nothing to worry about! Blogs were not mainstream media, we were told by mainstream media.

Bush and the NeoCons didn't really know what to do about the Internet anyway, so wishful thinking made it unimportant. That was their critical error, because while the polls kept showing more people were still getting their news from TV than from their computers, the margin kept getting smaller.

And their polls didn't reflect the fact that those people watching TV news were not as mentally involved with the information flow as Internet users are. While fewer in numbers, people who were getting their news from the Internet were more involved with the news they gathered — after all they sought it out and they talked with others they knew who did not have Internet feeds. "Each one teach one" thrives in practice.

So all of a sudden, the outdated mechanism of "what government says, the people think" is busted. Kaput! The mainstream TV networks have lost their monopoly on the flow of information. The public can decide for itself what is, in fact, newsworthy. The high ground in the war for the minds of America had shifted to the Internet, and the government of the US is losing that war. As we learn there are things happening in the world and at home that mainstream TV news is not telling us, we begin to turn to our computers more and more.

The government and mainstream media took many avenues to scare us away from the computers – ah, that fear factor! Worked for them in the past – could work again. They employed public relations to dump obvious misinformation onto the Internet in hopes of besmirching its credibility. But unlike television, the Internet allows readers to recognize immediately the false information for what it is by cross-referencing news carried from other sources. Once again we have not been given credit for being able to think outside their parameters.

We now have a collective memory outside government control. Mainstream news sources too, have become aware that they can no longer avoid reporting the unpleasant news stories, without their avoidance itself becoming news on our blogs. As a result, blogs now drive the mainstream news. The mainstream media have been maneuvered into having to make a choice between continuing to support the agenda of their owners/handlers, or saving what is left of their credibility by running the stories that the public will be aware of anyway through the Internet.

The Internet and blogging may save the world — who knew? What started as a way of learning about the world, ends up teaching us about ourselves.

A round of applause please. Now, go and responsibly change the world.

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  • outlawdba

    I fully agree and great insight still recognizing W’s base actually does get their “news” strictly from the propaganda machine, NASCAR, and talking directly with god (and for a few years that proved to be annoying).

  • Interesting thoughts – when I saw the title I immediately thought of this video that I saw about the evolution of the internet etc.

  • Ginger Haycox

    Me too! In fact, if you go back up in my post & click on “the keyboard”, you will see that the video was my inspiration for writing my post. =)