Duncan Riley> Failed US Presidential Candidate John Kerry has taken a swipe at bloggers in a speech on Feb 28, 2005 at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, that has remained mostly unreported in the mainstream media and the blogosphere.
In a wide ranging speech in which he discussed the role of the media in both American society and politics, he said “We learned…that the mainstream media, over the course of the last year, did a pretty good job of discerning. But there’s a subculture and a sub-media that talks and keeps things going for entertainment purposes rather than for the flow of information. And that has a profound impact and undermines what we call the mainstream media of the country. And so the decision-making ability of the American electorate has been profoundly impacted as a consequence of that. The question is, what are we going to do about it?”
What Kerry is essentially saying is that Bloggers, representative to Kerry of a sub-culture and sub-media, talk about items of news in such depth and length of time that it must only be for entertainment, and that this discussion amongst bloggers is undermining the MSM, and that, god help us, bloggers may actually be influencing other peoples views, and that something needs to be done about it.
Whilst Kerry didn’t come out and call for the subjugation of free speech in a country that refined free speech to such a form that it enshrined it in its constitution (the US), there could be no other way to silence the blogosphere.
Kerry’s failure to understand the richness the blogosphere provides America in terms of creating a diversity of opinion and speech in a country where many argue that media concentration has limited a once vibrant print and electronic media from its once prominent position of providing varied opinion, perhaps only further demonstrates how out of touch Kerry is as a politician and perhaps partially represents his failure to connect with the American people during last years Presidential Campaign, and how this aloofness and lack of understanding assisted in his failure at the ballot box.
For bloggers alike though, a warning must be made, that the old guard of mainstream media is actively recruiting high profile spokesmen and women to publicly vilify the blogsphere. Kerry may well be the first of many to come.