The Blogosphere as "Free Speech Zone"

Characterisictally sharp stuff from IOZ:

I both agree and disagree with Will on his assessment of the decreasing reach and effectiveness of manufactured consent. While I agree that disparate and dissenting voices now more effectively find audiences beyond their fellow-traveling compeers, I also suspect that such dissident nattering around the margins of popular opinion and consensus is, and will continue to be, easily coopted into a social narrative of divergent voices and free expression even as any thoughts we may have about alternative modes of being remain just as marginal and popularly discredited as before. The self-named blogosphere seems to me to be the country’s latest free speech zone, with the unusual feature being the large portion of internees willing to hand money through the chain links to the guards beyond (cf. Progressives).

This is what indignant bloggers endlessly complaining about the funded media’s scoffing dismissals of their manners and accuracy fails to understand, that they (we) aren’t outsiders seeking entrance to the informational economy, but are fully part of the staged drama, a motley and strident gang whose motliness and stridency are characteristics that are adopted and amplified in description in order to bolster the reasonableness of so-called mainstream debate. We flatter national pretensions to diversity of opinion and the rhetorical commitment of a society to free speech, even as we effectively declare that the fenced- and barriered-in zone miles from the actual parade grounds is in fact the new locus of political activism.

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center