Normally, I don't particularly like Tom Friedman.
Not since he came out in favor of the US invasion of Iraq.
So I have not particularly liked him for more than a dozen years.
But I still read him.
I still read The NY Times.
Yesterday, he ran a column entitled, The Age of Protest.
(You can read it for yourself)
But his primary point is that 'mass protests are now everywhere.' Even The Guardian newspaper, he notes, has a section entitled 'Protests'. And what he says is not wrong. People are easily now roused to indignation, largely because they are, for the first time really, made aware of what is happening in the world (largely owing to the ubiquty of phone based video cameras that record pretty much everything) and an Internet that allows them to voice their own opinions.
When it comes to news and journalism, we are no longer passive observers or readers, but participants.
Friedman lays the blame on this on three things:
"In my view, this age of protest is driven, in part, by the fact that the three largest forces on the planet — globalization, Moore’s law and Mother Nature — are all in acceleration, creating an engine of disruption that is stressing strong countries and middle classes and blowing up weak ones, while superempowering individuals and transforming the nature of work, leadership and government all at once."
This annoys Friedman.
This (as I have put in bold in his quote above) SUPEREMPOWERING of individuals.
Telling the world what they are supposed to know is, after all, HIS job!
What Chutzpah (as they used to say at the NY Times, but probably don't anymore). What in the world gives every schmoe the right to voice and broadcast and publish their stupid opinions???!!!
Friedman has the answer:
"When you get that much agitation in a world where everyone with a smartphone is now a reporter, news photographer and documentary filmmaker, it’s a wonder that every newspaper doesn’t have a “Protest” section."
Suddenly we live in a world where everyone with a smart phone is now a reporter.
To Friedman this is a bad thing.
To us, it is a good thing.
This does to the formerly ivory towered institution of 'journalism' what the printing press did to the formerly ivory towered institution of Medieval Monk's scriporiums. It opens the door for anyone who wants to publish anything any time they like.
That, Tom, is what is called a Free Press.
The people who extol the Free Press the most, the 'professional journalists' are the ones who are the most frightened of it when they are actually faced with it.
So here it is.
A real, honest to God free press.
And in video, no less.
Embrace it Tom.
Now, for the first time, you've got some real competition.