Time's '15 Citizens of the Digital Democracy' Is Missing One Big Name

December 17th, 2006 12:53 PM
Why isn't Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, who first broke the "fauxtography" scandal out of Lebanon, among Time's "digital democracy" change agents?

After looking at the weak collection of candidates available to vote for as Time's Person of the Year last week (based on what they did in 2006, which wasn't much), I wrote:

Perhaps YouTube, online forums, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and online media should be the Thing of the Year: The Shadow Media. Of course, Time would be writing about its own likely eventual demise, but it would fit.

That's essentially what Time has done in its mostly (in my opinion) good decision to name "You" as Person of the Year:

..... for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you.

Time named as "You" everyone trying to influence the world just a bit from their keyboard. That would include, to a miniscule degree, yours truly, and, again of course, many people who are reading this post.

Oh-so-predictably, two of the three "hard-news" members of the magazine's "15 citizens of the digital democracy" are influencers from the left side; none are from the right -- sorry, libs, a milblogger is not presumptively "conservative" (direct links may not work unless you have already visited Time's web site):

  • Lane Hudson, the guy who outed Mark Foley, as Time perpetuates the fantasy that this guy acted on his own.
  • S.R. Sidarth, the person who made "macaca" a household word in Virginia's US Senate race.
  • Lee Kelley, the milblogger at Wordsmith at War.

Additionally, Time errs in overstating the "digital democracy's" influence:

You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world.

You control the media now, and the world will never be the same.

That will be news to Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, who first broke the news of what turned out to be dozens, if not more, photoshopped, staged, and manipulated pictures, as well as their manipulators, coming out of Lebanon. It ultimately exposed, for anyone who cares to pay attention, how Arab states have bought and paid for favorable news coverage out of the Middle East for years.

No one "beat the pros at their game" in 2006 better than Johnson, Gateway Pundit, Zombietime, and others too numerous to mention. The scandal ultimately snared Reuters, the New York Times, US News, and many other Old Media, who had to pull pictures, backtrack on story content, and were in some cases none too happy about it. Johnson popularized a word coined by one of his commenters ("fauxtography"), yet most people have no idea who he is.

Johnson's relative anonymity (including, incredibly, not being one of Time's "Digital Democracy Fifteen"), the almost non-existent fauxtography coverage outside of the blogs and forums (aside from the quiet Old Media corrections), and the relatively scant attention being paid to Jamil Hussein (my semi-satirical nominee for Person of the Year) and other "unofficial" (and, more importantly, factually questionable) sources of news from Iraq used by the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, and others, are all proof that, despite Time's hype, Old Media, though no longer credibly "mainstream," still mostly controls the dissemination of news.

We may have to wait a while for Old Media's control over getting and distributing news at the source is overturned. The events of 2006 showed that turning the tables on Old Media is possible, and gave some hints of the the tantalizing results that could occur if that ever comes about.


UPDATE: Incredible -- Larry McShane of AP shows he doesn't even comprehend, or perhaps pretends not to comprehend, who Time's award went to:

The winners this year were anyone using or creating content on the World Wide Web.

Re-read the above. Mr. McShane, and presumably his layers of editors, totally misreported it. Could this be why?

Cross-posted, with additional updates and minor revisions, at BizzyBlog.com.