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Blogging and Revolution

This piece focuses on the role the internet and blogging have played in major revolutionary events. In this New York Times article the journalist, Jennifer Preston takes the time to recognize how social media and blogging aided the growth and the public resistance against the Egyptian government.

The Facebook page, We are Khaled Said brought the attention to issues of police brutality. From there people would post photos and videos Said’s brutal end as well as what his life had been like before he died at the hands of two policemen. The images of what had happened to Said, an ordinary man, made him a symbol. People viewed what had happened to Said and were enraged, the brutality couldn’t go on any longer.

“He is a big part of our revolution,” said Hudaifa Nabawi, a 20-year-old student in Tahrir Square on Saturday. ‘Khalid Said was a special case. He didn’t belong to any faction, and he didn’t do anything wrong. He became the way to focus our perceptions around the oppression that all the youth all face. You can consider him a symbol’.”

Without blogging and social media the issue of police brutality in Egypt may not have been as widely promoted. Blogs about police brutality existed prior to Said’s attack and death but it wasn’t until after his attack was blogged about and posted about that it became a widely discussed issue. Without the outrage over Said’s death, his murders may not have been brought to justice. Without the campaign over Said’s death the issue of police brutality may not have received the international attention it gained. The bloggers proactively used their outrage to gain momentum with Egypt’s revolution.

How do we perceive opinions?

I think the first thing to note with this story is that CNN posted this as an opinion piece. Which brings me to my first point, why didn’t CNN examine the role of WikiLeaks in the Tunisian revolution as a news story? When readers come across opinion pieces they tend to be less interested in reading them and more likely to overlook them because an opinion isn’t news.

The writer of this story isn’t some hack spewing crazy theories, he is a well respected member of a think tank. He has the credentials to be a source on this issue for a story that is perceived as news. In fact Maha Azzam has actually been cited in CNN’s news coverage on Egypt. Unfortunately because the story is an opinion piece CNN’s readers are less likely to be inclined to care much about it because an opinion does not have to be rooted in fact.

Does that make this story any less important? Despite being an opinion piece this story has several links to back up Azzam’s argument, but it doesn’t have any links connected to the statistics or quotes he refers to. So as a reader what are we supposed to believe?

Chapel Hill Shooting and Social Media’s Outrage

Social media outlets have been posting like wildfire about the tragic death of three Muslim students in the Chapel Hill shooting on February 10 and the posts are enraged. The internet is partially enraged by the incident itself and partially irate that the main stream media wasn’t talking about the shooting. In the wake of the international outcry over Charlie Hebdo, the main stream has been quiet about the Chapel Hill shooting. Several people have claimed that the Chapel Hill shooting hasn’t received wider national attention because the victims were Muslim. Or when the mainstream does cover it, they question whether or not the shooting actually is a hate crime.

Others just can’t seem to understand why there was a delay in the media’s coverage on the shooting as news about the incident didn’t hit the headlines until the following day and even then it still took the mainstream a little while to catch up on what was going on. Why was there a delay? Was it an issue of not knowing or not caring?

The Media Gap and Democracy Now

The New York Times wrote an article focusing on Democracy Now!‘s tendency to be the only outlet covering an important story or the only outlet to be there during the early days of the story. The article goes on to make Amy Goodman sound like she is going above and beyond the call of duty because she actually goes into the field to report. The issue with members of the media being mesmerized by Goodman doing her job points to a major issue with the mainstream outlets. How is the media covering anything if they’re not going out into the field to figure out what’s going on?

This particular article focuses on Goodman’s coverage of the early stages of Occupy Wall Street and the execution of Troy Davis because she and other journalists from Democracy Now! are actually reporting about what is happening on site. Democracy Now! is filling a gap, but that gap shouldn’t exist in the first place if the mainstream media was actually getting out there and reporting.

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