Blog Effect

Posted on January 11, 2008 by

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Still wondering whether blogs are influencing what is being written on the Maltese media? I came across this interesting article by Christian Holland on Maltatoday. I do not disagree with most of what is said in the article, and I am not writing this to imply that Mr Holland plagiarised anything from a blog (or used a blog post to fill up a papers’ pages). What I am implying is that unless the god of extreme coincidences is hard at work, the way Mr Holland tackled his theme (MLPN bashing, plus ca change) made me think that he is more than a passive reader of my blog. In particular I found this sentence rather illuminating:

“Now we have Eddie’s protégée Dr Lawrence Gonzi make a parody of that momentous moment in our history, by muffling my right to determine the stewardship of this democracy, disenfranchising me of my vote through a Machiavellian strategy that is reminiscent of Soviet leaders behind their iron curtain. Unelected in the 1987 poll, he was installed as Speaker of the House and chaired the Gonzi commission whose brief was to discuss and recommend changes to the electoral law to ensure a more democratic process.”

Forget the substance of what is being stated for a minute. Just look at the following excerpt taken from a recent J’accuse post (incidentally a post that got quoted on the Indy in full on the same Sunday that Mr Holland’s appeared):

” (…) what is probably the most anti-democratic move of last year in local political terms. I reminded the maltastar team that it was a unanimous vote in parliament i.e. one subscribed to by both of what FZD likes to call “major parties” that effectively buried all hopes for citizens to have an open choice. I reminded them that this most atrocious of macchiavellian political moves that underwrote the disenfranchisement of all those disillusioned in MLPN was not an action that was solely attributable to PN.”

Now I may be suffering from delusions of Mintoffian grandeur here whereby I believe that the world evolves around my recently operated and scarred navel. You do not blame me though for believing that when a post contains a phrase with the words “macchiavellian” and (more so) “disenfranchisement” in the same sentence is followed within less than a week by an article in a paper on the same theme using the same two words in one sentence then there is more than a coincidence that is afoot.

Again. I may seem like some blithering fool who is happy that he is being quoted in the paper. This article might be misinterpreted as being some sort of rebuke to Christian Holland for having “stolen” an expression (and not an idea – for I do not think I am the only person to disagree with Fausto on the matter of the MLPN hijack of the popular vote). None of all that. What I am pointing out is something that would have been deemed unthinkable in the debates of Blogosfera 1.0 – the early versions of the Maltese blogosphere. At the time the idea that blogs would have this kind of influence on the media would have been unthinkable. J’accuse had claimed (and here we want our little medal) that blogs cannot be ignored ad aeternum and that it would only be a matter of time before the media adapt and interact.

In the US this kind of thing has been going since shortly after Berner-Lee’s idea hit the mainstream. Journalists of papers such as The Washington Post, New York Times and others created news groups on the net in 1996 in order to have what is called a “feedback loop”. Interaction with the persons affected by their writing meant that the quality of their discussions made a quantum leap of sorts. In short, the soap box or pulpit was shed for an armchair discussion with their interlocutors… and it’s been one hell of a change. More of that on Sunday’s article in the Times… that’s another kind of interaction too…

Jacques René Zammit

TMC Administrator

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Posted in: Media & Politics