Friday, July 25, 2008

Real Time News and its Enemies

American Thinker found this and is following it: We are entering the next stage of personalized news. Rather than waiting for your congressman to be chosen for an interview by Fox News or the New York Times, you can interview your own congressman in "real time." Watch this video from John Culberson (R-TX), who uses an internet-connected video camera and a Blackberry to "broadcast" his side of a news interview. Imagine the possibilities, and the accountability! What are the ramifications of this new technology? The first major benefit is that we no longer have to wait until the MSM decides to interview our congressman. Real time technology allows us to interview him or her directly. We can watch our representatives and senators explain their votes, make speeches, or even observe a chat in the hallway as it happens. The second benefit is that we can disseminate this information to friends via the internet. This activity is the essence of classical republicanism which is based on individual equality and self-interest bound by morality. Ideas and events otherwise hidden in the netherworld of uncovered MSM news are brought into the light and into the hands of everyday citizens. Real time can become your personal news source. For example, Micro-blogging platforms such as Twitter, where short text messages are used to spread information about what is happening right now. Twitter is used by the firefighters in California to relay information and by the people being evacuated to tell family and loved ones where they are and where they are going. The Red Cross uses Twitter and so do Congressmen from the floor of the House. Sign up for Twitter and search, monitor, and communicate with anyone you choose, on your computer or cell phone. You don't have to be a geek or have a bunch of spare time--Twitter is quicker and easier than email. In Congress, only leaders are allowed to use this technology. All other members are currently not allowed under the archaic House franking rules. For example, because email has the word "mail", it must be reviewed by the Franking Commission before it is sent. However, there are two congressmen, Representatives Culberson and Tim Ryan (D-OH), who are skirting the gray area by using Twitter, Facebook and Qik Video to talk directly with those members of the public that have signed up to do so. Culberson and Ryan send messages about what's happening on the House floor in real time, bypassing the MSM and, so far, leadership approval. This is the essence of the internet: free flowing information in real time. And as with Tivo, if you don't catch it live, watch the recording. But not all is flowing smoothly. Full congressional use of this technology is being challenged in the Democrat-controlled House.

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