'Insult to democracy?'
: OK. Time to take a deep breath. Where does one begin with this article
? Granted, the piece -- entitled “Freedom to flame: Online political chat is an insult to democracy. Can it be fixed?” -- is somewhat narrowly defined as covering Internet chat and political discussion sites, as well as failed web ventures (such as voter.com) designed to spark online political discussions and participatory democracy. But that’s the problem: The article is too busy beating up on what many concede to be antiquated, early-stage web experiments -- and it misses the entire blogging phenomena now under way. It’s as if the author, Nicholas Thompson, is stuck somewhere in the 15th Century, belittling the quality of hand-written political pamphlets, unaware that Johann Gutenberg has just invented the printing press. Again, the article is mostly about Internet chat and political discussion sites. But Thompson consistently ties the subject to sweeping generalizations about the Internet, such as this: “Unfortunately, as we now know, the masses generally don't want to deliberate or hold anyone accountable online, least of all themselves." Again: Where is there a single mention of the blogging phenomena in Thompson’s article?
Postscript: Nicholas Thompson is a Markle Fellow at the New America Foundation
, which was founded by, among others, James Fallows and Francis Fukuyama, author of “The End of History and the Last Man.” ... Postscript postscript: For a great take on blogging, by the way, the folks at the New America Foundation should take a gander at this blog site