Rose Parade

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Dude, you've been Reutered!

In a world where "google" and "netflix" have gone from being brand names to verbs comes a new action word: reutered. This has just come into being because Reuters released a Photoshopped (as it was previously known) picture that they presented as vetted and unquestionable fact but were later forced to acknowledge as manipulated thanks to the work of intrepid blog little green footballs (whose story was quickly picked up and disseminated by other bloggers). And don't fool yourself - Reuters only copped to the fakery and recalled the picture because these bloggers brought it to the world's attention. They would never have done it on their own. This stunningly lame work of art was committed by supposedly professional, world-class Reuters photographer (and crappy Photoshopper) Adnan Hajj. No agenda there, nope. Love or hate the right wing blogosphere, agree or disagree with them, they have made amazing progress the past few years in calling out the mainstream media (now known on the net as the MSM, not to be confused with MSN) on their slanted approach and shamelessly manufactured examples of indisputable "proof" that they foist upon us, the public, with the dated smug self-assurance that we're too dumb and trusting to question anything they stick in front of us. Well, welcome to the new technology. Dumb and trusting is a thing of the past. The sooner the likes of Reuters figures that out, the quicker they rejoin the real world and avoid making themselves objects of derision and taking hits to their once unquestioned credibility. Like it or not, the MSM needs to understand and respect that there's a new power structure in the game and ignoring it is not going to magically make it go away. We're called bloggers. And any one of us can sign up for a free blog and instantly become one. We are worldwide, we are legion, and we are limited only by our imagination, diligence and intelligence. In other words, only by ourselves. Other than that, the sky's the limit. How that must irritate the establishment. In fact, it's pretty much their worst nightmare. Key moments in the elevation of the influence and importance of bloggers are documented by Hugh Hewitt in his terrific book Blog. They include, most importantly IMO, a pre-2004 election segment run on 60 Minutes in which George Bush's Vietnam-era cowardice and privilege were supposedly and damagingly substantiated by a memo said to have been written by Bush's superior...a memo eventually proven to be a complete work of fiction by some guy who identified himself as "Buckhead" on the avowed Righty site Free Republic. But Buckhead wasn't posting in his capacity as an avowed rightly, he was posting in his capacity as a guy with lots of experience in the field of printing and typesetting. Because his review of the "memo" produced this observance (from Hewitt's "Blog"): Every single one of these memos to file is in a proportionally spaced font, probably Palatino or Times New Roman. In 1972 people used typewriters for this sort of thing, and typewriters used monospaced fonts. The use of proportionally spaced fonts did not come into common use for office memos until the introduction of laser printers, word processing software and personal computers. They were not widespread until the mid to late 90's...I am saying these documents are forgeries, run through a copier for 15 generations to make them look old. This should be pursued agressively. And it was pursued - not by the MSM, and certainly not by CBS News until their hand was forced - and eventually proven to be a forgery and long story short even the mighty Dan Rather and CBS News were forced to admit it. Because while the mighty machinery of CBS News may have failed to spot a forgery - or even worse, accepted and played along with it - it only took one guy out in the blogosphere, one little guy with an expertise in printing to hurl the stone that brought down the giant. And as someone who goes back far enough to know the drudgery and lack of artistry afforded those of us who toiled on the likes of the IBM Selectric (it was a beautiful day when you scored one with self-correction, wasn't it fellow oldsters?) it's amazing to me that some smug asshole really thought so little of the American public, of the audience tuning into CBS News, that they really believed no one would figure out their crappy forgery. Which kind of brings it full circle to the crappy Reuters/Hajj Photoshop scandal, and really there isn't any other word for it. Hopefully Reuters will have the decency to be embarrassed by this, but somehow I don't think so. There will be more before the MSM wises up. Right and left are just that heavily divided these days, that even common sense is tossed by the wayside without a second thought. Still, I love the fact that we live in a day and age where David can once again stone Goliath. Whether it's Bill Clinton, George Bush, Dan Rather, Adnan Hajj, CBS News or Reuters, Republican or Democrat, the big guys no longer have all the power. Whether the MSM admits it or not, they can all be brought to bear and be held accountable by a little guy with a web presence. They can lie and manipulate all they want, but in the end they no longer have the final word. They can no longer count on us as a captive and obedient audience. We're talking back now, and judging by how often they continue to arrogantly ignore this fact by letting crap like Hajj's poorly reutered picture(s) to be presented as fact without regard to reality tells me that they're going to have to learn a few - or maybe even a lot - more lessons the hard way before they start to show us, the consumers, the respect we deserve. Imagine what a shock that has been, is, and will continue to be to them. For years, hell for decades, viewers and readers couldn't question the information being fed to them. Now not only can we question them but we can also trump their reporting with out own. How galling that must be to them, this new world, this new reality. No wonder politicians are trying to wrestle control of the internet away from us. And now I'm gonna let my immature inner twelve year old loose to snicker over how close "reutered" resembles "neutered". LOL OMG. And yet how strangely fitting. If the dumb animal can't control its urges, perhaps it needs to be fixed.

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