Re: [aeration]

Gregory Alan Bolcer (
Sat, 06 Jun 1998 14:44:42 -0700

> In case anyone missed it, thursday's Suck
> was an amazing synopsis of Matt Drudge, what gets reported, and how
> news and fluff are cross-developed, complete with consistent reference to
> Canada as She is Put:
> Calgary Herald
> reports that schools around the
> country are staging "psycho
> drills" designed to help kids
> survive attacks by demented
> fellow students
> ...odd lumps in portage aside...what kinds of declaration
> are needed for those phones? Just a change in one's travel registry?

No wonder why he's making the debate rounds on the Internet
as the topic du jour. I just respnded to my friend who is
the New Media editor for the Atlantic Monthly (the publication
where the original 'hypertext' article was published).
I've included my response to him below; just some blueskying.

BTW, Rashomon is one of my all time favorite films. It's about
a murder that takes place and they call 4 people with 4 different
versions of events. The story takes place a priest telling some
thieves while keeping shelter from the rain in an abandoned
temple that his conscience weighed heavy on him from the irreconcialable
events. The theif tells him that all people prejudice their
interpretations of facts, even the priest as he points out in
the movie. Tashiro Mifune stars, directed by Akira Kurosawa.
I think it's highly relevant to the level of criticism
Drudge receives. I wish everyone who takes stabs at him would
watch this movie.

"Akira Kurosawa's multi-award winning masterpiece! The story, in
Kurosawa's words, "Goes into the depths of the human heart as
if with a surgeon's scalpel, laying bare its dark complexities
and bizarre twists." A man is murdered, his wife is raped by a
bandit. Kurosawa uses a stunning flashback technique to tell four
different versions of what occurred. Sensuous imager and dramatic
actions combine in this profound explorations of the QUICKSILVER
NATURE OF THE TRUTH [emp. mine].


Message: "Rashomon Journalism"

Written by Gregory Alan Bolcer on Sat Jun 6 01:33:27 1998
Written to

To Wen Stephenson:

News is more interactive. Take CNN for example, they now rush stories
out. It's still one way,
they paste on the top something to the effect "do not cite; we reserve
the right to manipulate the
facts of the story as we thought this was so important to get out before
any other people scoop us
even though some of the facts may be fucked up". Now, Drudge doesn't
deserve the raw hatred
and disdain he gets. His opinion is that there are only degrees.

Imagine a news service that puts all information out including
conflicting events. It's up to the
certification entities to underwrite the credibility of the stories.
Eventually a common set of
events is determined. Unfortunately sometimes the events are
irreconcilable too, but thinking
about people's own cognitive filters makes for some truly painful

Do you think Drudge would have had any notice if some of his reporting
wasn't true? Stories
escalate, get revised, make it to the mainstream press. The established
press has been burying
stories to try and exert their influence that someone like Drudge scares
the hell out of them.
When you strip away all the major news organizations have, it's only
their credibility that they
have made a good faith effort in verifying the story and choosing the
ones that are most
important. With that they are protected by 1st amendment rights. You
never see all the
retractions and they never change the story even when years later it is
proven wrong. To me, the
national press has lost their credibility long ago and are just going
through writhing pains.

so, news has changed. Reporters from cross- news organizations now have
the ability to
collaborate in a way they never had before. Small reported facts can be
assembled from unlikely
sources to build up stories of more significance. It's just too bad that
traditional news
organizations can't keep the story under wraps until they choose to
release it.

On a more significant subject, where is online journalism going? The
readers become reporters.
Think about it, what are news and webboards anyways? Just a bunch of
people posting common
information and their interpretations. Debating facts, ranking the
importance of the facts and
assessing the relevance. MSN has rankings, "How important do you think
this story is? 1..7".

This is what online journalism should become; I quote Dan Connolly:

"The paragraph or two of personal analysis is the essential part.
Without that, a 'hey read this!'
message is nothing more than a commercial. In this age of information
overload, let's do each
other the favor of information _reduction_."

People are social animals and have been for thousands and thousands of
years. It takes feedback to
reach consensus. People make up their own mind on stories by receiving
what the netowrks think
are imortant, or, they make up their own stories and come to consensus
on which ones are valid.


So, have you met him (interactively) or have you formed your opinon
based on what other people
have told you (fed).