Apologies: a couple of things on weblogging and the liberalisation of publishing.
Rushkoff thinks that the “real threat of blogs” (sounds like an advert for pesticide: ‘protect your crops from the real threat of blogs’) is that they represent unpaid cultural production:
“I believe the greatest power of the blog is not just its ability to distribute alternative information – a great power, indeed – but its power to demonstrate a mode of engagement that is not based on the profit principle.”
“Can we just reinforce what we believe by reading only those blogs and web press that agree with us, up to the point where our beliefs cascade away from any doubts and are reinforced. Long ago, Jack Snyder and Karen Ballentine argued that pathological politics (in their paper, an agreessive nationalism) was enabled by a segmented media market and poor or absent norms in the press.
Historically and today, from the French Revolution to Rwanda, sudden liberalizations of press freedom have been associated with bloody outbursts of popular nationalism. The most dangerous situation is precisely when the government’s press monopoly begins to break down.(4) During incipient democratization, when civil society is burgeoning but democratic institutions are not fully entrenched, the state and other elites are forced to engage in public debate in order to compete for mass allies in the struggle for power.(5) Under those circumstances, governments and their opponents often have the motive and the opportunity to play the nationalist card.”