Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Internet is to Today's Society What the Printing Press was to Revolutionary War America

“Sour Grapes” would have been a more appropriate headline for an article in the Washington Post, “Blog Comments Become Fodder for Attack Ads”, on September 22, 2007 ( The article decried the use of “unidentified, unverified quotes from a blog” in political campaign ads. The story then expresses concern about the use of Internet postings “instead of more authoritative sources such as news reports or public records”.

Hardly a day goes by when the Washington Post does not quote a source “on the condition of anonymity”. See LA Judge story on A-8 of the same newspaper ( As mainstream media becomes more tabloid-like, polls indicate that most people no longer consider “news reports” to be “authoritative sources”.

The Internet allows virtually anyone with a computer to publish their views for others to read. This was similarly true during the time of the American Revolution, when printing presses were relatively affordable and easy to operate. The printing press of the 18th Century was to Americans then what the Internet is today. Over time, printing presses grew more complicated and expensive and the industrial media made market entry expensive and risky.

The real story here is that the Fourth Estate feels threatened by the Internet. I won’t defend all Web content, but I will argue for the First Amendment Right of Americans to challenge any monopoly on thought. Bring on the competition!

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