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The Net and the War
Alex Steffen, 12 Nov 04

In war, good journalism is almost always independent journalism, and the Internet, as has been remarked, is making independent journalism easier than ever.

Not only are journalists able to say things to readers which their employers would never publish or broadcast, they're also able strike out more completely on their own.

Take Kevin Sites: a "multi-media journalist who often works as a one-man unit, using portable, digital technology to report, write, edit and transmit his stories from conflict areas around the world." He has a working relationship with one of the editors of BoingBoing, which makes him enough of a ubiquitous presence on the Net that we haven't mentioned him before. Still, he's a terrific example of what journalism is evolving towards, and, well, he's really good: check out his photoblogging of the storming of Falluja

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Journalists no longer have a critical function in society - no matter how much they try to portray themselves as being independent. Since Baudrillard showed why "the Gulf war did not take place", we know that only longterm analysis and research may actually change people's minds, in the longterm.

Reporters -- the independent ones included -- opt for the status quo. They opt for the destruction of longterm thought by producing a neverending stream of instant half truths. And so they are the objective allies of those who create wars.

Reporters are the enemy of critical thought. They are complicit to modern warfare. They are, as Bourdieu put it: mere journaille.

Posted by: Lorenzo on 13 Nov 04

..uh, you do know this guy is as embedded as they come, don't you? In fact I seem to recall that his employer (CNN, I think) put the kibosh on his blog in the early days of the war. The fact that it's back online would seem to indicate that some agreement was reached on what he could and could not post.

If you're looking for truly independent journalism in Iraq, might I suggest Dahr Jamail (Dahr Jamail, he's been in Baghdad for the duration, and is utterly uncompromised by association with any corporate news body.

Posted by: James on 16 Nov 04


I will note that he did just break the executing prisoners in Fallujah story which is now all over the media much to the embarrassment of the Pentagon.

Posted by: Alex Steffen on 16 Nov 04



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