New Media from Iran troubles MSM

The tendency of mainstream media to simply quote from new media, without seeking a second source or other verification, is troubling enough. It’s even worse when the state clamps down on all media, new or traditional, and observers outside that state try to get a sense of what’s going on. As a result, blogs, posts, videos etc. on the current unrest in Iran are being cited frequently by MSM, but with the unease that they have no way of verifying that any of it is factual. A thoughtful piece from the New York Times.

New York Times, June 28 2009

New media fueling Iranian revolution

Youtube, Twitter et al are all being used by Iranian youth and protesters to get their side of the story out, given that Iranian MSM is all government-owned and controlled. The Iranian religious/political establishment has reason to be worried; this is the same type of protest that overthrew the Shah, despite his goons and guns. It’s also eerily reminiscent of the Tienanmen Square protests 20 years ago. Again, state media downplayed what was really happening, but students got their message out to the world through the new technology of the day — the fax machine, which the authorities hadn’t quite got their heads around (and the government learned its lesson, and now have extensive control over New Media in the Middle Kingdom.)

Counterpunch, June 19 – 21. It’s a long essay, but worth the time.