the Internet doesn’t work
So people are trying to convince me that the death of newspapers doesn’t matter because of the astonishing rise of Internet journalism. And one great advantage of Internet journalism, I’m told, is that people get called on their factual mistakes. That’s the power of the blogosphere! People who don’t know what they’re talking about are destined to get smacked down by the wisdom of the mob! No more shall we have to endure the innumerable little errors of professional journalists, and no longer will anyone making errors have to hide behind the wall of disconnection and lack of access!
And yet! Today, I have had to endure post after post after post of the kind, “Obama won the Nobel peace prize? He hasn’t done anything yet!” Except that, well, that’s the Nobel peace prize. They do that all the time, giving the award before someone has accomplished his or her goals for peace, as a way to inspire them and, more importantly, to fund their efforts with the prize money. Is that wise? I dunno. Seems a little goofy to me. But if it was goofy, it was goofy yesterday. It didn’t suddenly become goofy today, anymore than Roman Polanski didn’t suddenly become a morally corrupt person when he was captured by the Swiss. Tons of people are reading this news, and making a flagrantly incorrect assumption about how the Nobel peace prize works. And they aren’t stopping to research– which you can do, with the Internet!– to find out if they are saying something smart. You can disagree with this award, and I do, but there’s a smart way to do it, and an ignorant way to do it, and many, many people are choosing the latter.
Somehow I’m not expecting a wave of retractions and corrections tomorrow. The Internet doesn’t work.