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Begin forwarded message:

> From: Jeff Bone
> Date: Mon Mar 24, 2003 10:45:59 PM US/Pacific
> To: fork [at] xent [dot] com
> Subject: [SPORK?] The Rise of the Reporters
> It’s been evident (IMHO) for a long time that the “big story” of the
> 90s wasn’t computers, or the Web, or buddy lists, or cell phones, or
> PDAs, or blogs, or any of the stuff us pure geeks probably immediately
> think of. Some of those stories might be the big stories of this
> decade — but the effects of all of the above, really, on a global
> scale, were in the 90s wildly overstated.
> The big story of the 90s went largely unreported — because news
> itself isn’t usually news. Seems to me that the big story of the 90s
> was the meteoric rise in global importance of television news networks
> in shaping world opinion, shaping the course of world events, and
> making the conduct of international relations a real-time endeavor.
> And of course, CNN really started this and came of age in the crucible
> of Baghdad ’91. To an even greater extent, global media is coming of
> age in this current conflict.
> This whole “embedding” thing has me totally fascinated. I heard a top
> Pentagon official on one of the networks a night or two ago talking
> about how they get real-time battle intel from these networks more
> often than through the chain of command. And the embedding thing
> isn’t just our reporters: I’m watching Aaron Brown on CNN talking to
> reporters from many countries and outlets — including Muslim media
> and *France* — that are embedded with our forces. (FWIW, the Arabic
> news networks have forces embedded w/ Iraqi forces, too. Ironically,
> the viewers of Al Jazeera and some of the other 9 or so similar
> networks *potentially* have better access to more balanced information
> than we do.)
> Real-time, largely non-partisan (face it, most at least try for some
> level of objectivity, though they succeed to degrees according to
> different agendas; but in general their value is diminished to the
> extent that they editorialize and spin the bitstream) private sector
> intelligence agencies.
> And they’ve become almost sacrosanct — they go everywhere, see
> everything, say whatever, and are pretty much untouched and unhindered
> by the national collective organisms and interests they operate
> within. Bizarre.
> Truly fascinating. Powerful force for good. Powerful force for evil.
> Suspicion warranted, but I can’t help but feel kind of awed. A
> 30-minute scan of CNN, Fox, etc. today — supplemented with broad
> reading of international online newspapers to triangulate and balance
> — probably gives any one of us access to more information of equal
> or superior quality than the information that intelligence officers in
> this or any other country had from a year’s intelligence gathering two
> decades ago. We’re more immediately and better informed more than the
> guys that made global policy during our parents’ era.
> Wow. Go CNN, et. al. 😉
> jb