Old vs. New Media: Mill Grist or Meaningful Gist?

I am constantly amazed by the ubiquitous nature of our Information Age. As a 12-year veteran of IBM, I can say I held the party line on our vision of the New Economy in the last millennium, but in the 21st one, I am awed and inspired by the power of online blogs, social networking & publishing. Legislative voting and legal records, YouTube videos and podcasts, this movement represents the great democratization of media. No longer are we limited to major media outlets like ABC, NBC, CBS, or even CNN. The American public, even the world at large, can have a say and access to unprecedented amounts and quality of information, but sometimes misinformation, thus the need for a whole cottage industry on fact-checking with concerns like Snopes.com.

Having fallen asleep with my TV watching me (this is a reference to fab recording artist Vinx’s song My TV at http://www.amazon.com/Rooms-My-Fathas-House-Vinx/dp/B000000QG1 samples), I awoke to a story about Sen. Obama’s IL legislature work, and decided to explore its online version. Though I didn’t think the TV story was particularly balanced and felt some its implications were quite misleading and sensationalistic, I was pleased to note that not only did some of the online comment-makers hail from outside the US, but they also echoed my disquieted sentiments. I then ‘googled’ a bit to find a more balance version, and was left with a story about Clinton/Obama Senate voting records (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/31/AR2006123101004_2.html
), but this piece seemed to me to be infinitely more even-handed.

Bottom line for me is this: for anyone with the inclination to ‘get to the bottom of the story,’ if you have access to the web, the world is your oyster. So don’t get it twisted, if you wanna deal with hype, take someone else’s word. If you wanna know the real deal, you gotta put in the work and do some research. You may say you don’t have the time, but I would submit that we all make/take time for that which is important to us.

So how crucial is the choice of our next president to you? Rest assured this choice is far-reaching and affects our lives at the most fundamental levels: from the quality of the air we breathe, to the cleanliness of our water, to the ingredients in the food we eat, to our access to quality education & healthcare systems. If these things aren’t important to you, then you need not fact-check. But if they are, join me in handling the business of our everyday lives and the nation’s; remember & emulate Dragnet’s Joe Friday, seeking just the facts [dismissing factoids or falsehoods], ma’am, in the biggest library I know, the World Wide Web!
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