Today's flick through the propaganda pages has provided an instructive lesson in what life would be like if the blogosphere ever managed to replace print and television journalism. Can anyone guess what today's hot topic is among the right-wing citizen journalists? Let's take a look at the news...
Air strikes, ground clashes continue in Lebanon as UN wrangles over draft resolution.
Oil prices hit new high after closure of one of the United States' largest oil fields.
Fidel Castro "abdication" looking dodgier by the minute.
Nope, none of the above. The big news today is that Reuters published a dodgy picture of the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike in Lebanon. It had been photoshopped to make the smoke appear a bit blacker.
I agree that impartial news agencies should be held to account for screw-ups, but we've got a genuine feeding frenzy on our hands here. I've taken a tour of the usual suspects and they are all, without exception, focusing on this story, sniffing obsessively at each other's latest "scoops" like a pack of excitable dogs. It's Christmas for idiots.
The attention this is getting makes it the biggest story of the blogosphere so far this year. But why this story, when we live in such interesting times? A few reasons spring to mind.
One, following their succesful termination of Dan Rather's career, they're drunk with their own power, pulled helplessly along with the surge of the crowd. When a Reuters exec inevitably steps down, there are going to be a few bloody noses as the big dogs jostle to claim the credit. Additionally, it's a great chance to get out the old piano and gather round for a sing-along of that much-loved ditty of the doofus, "The Liberal Media Done Stole Our Good News From The Middle-East".
Two, they hate big media like fire. This hatred will not stop the top turkeys of the net chasing after TV appearances and newspaper interviews like the Keystone Kops, of course. I imagine Charles Johnson has already dirtied up the TV screens of FOX News viewers, spouting self-aggrandising bullshit like an industrial self-aggrandising bullshit machine.
Three, if they weren't talking about this, they might have to devote their attention to what the people who don't get their news from fanatical right-wing propagandists are reading about. That'll be the vast majority of humanity, incidentally.
Iraq civil war has already begun, US troops say.
Hezbollah rockets kills 15, resolution not in sight. Rocket attack "Like nothing you can imagine".
Republican Congressman to step down following allegations of corruption.
Nasrallah - "Down but not out".
I hate to throw fuel on the fire, since attention is all that any blogger craves. I could respond to this with some pithy put-downs and an essay on the mendacity of right-blogistan, but why bother? Better just to say that the furore over the Reuters photo boils down to this...
...to the power of ten.