Long Lost Post on Authority

In “Audience Atomization Overcome”, Jay Rosen explains how the internet weakens the authority of the press (mainstream media). Using a graph to represent the “Three regions of the ‘Uncensored War‘” (previously dominated by the press), Rosen conveys that because the public is able to connect horizontally (with each other) to discuss the news and what is important to them, we no longer need to look upwards (to the press) to receive all of our information or mainstream opinions. As Clay Shirky explains in “Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable”, with the advent of the internet and blogs, getting something published and available to the public “has stopped being a problem”– anyone can easily share anything they want (digitally) with the rest of the world.

In Rosen’s article, Hallin (the author of The Uncensored War who created the graph Rosen borrows for his article) responds to the numerous comments other readers have made on the site:

“Many of those who posted seem to believe that what is on the internet is closer to ‘real public opinion’ than what is in the mainstream media, but I’m not sure we really know this.”

While it’s true that, say, the most popular/frequent search queries made on Google say¬†something¬†about humanity (perhaps our general wants or concerns), we can’t say that everything we find on the internet represents “real public opinion”. If anything, the internet allows niche opinions and news to be published (a.k.a. the “Long Tail” of media).

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