Darth Aol, A Princess, And A Legend of a Free Press

Return of the Jedi-ess

Sooner or later, Techcrunch’s Alexia Tsotsis will master the graceful art of the kowtow. Or join the ranks of freelance writers who struggle to pay the rent, story to story. OR not. Perhaps, Alexia will become a freedom fighter celebrated for her snarky courage and determination. Certainly, Alexia imagines that all her klout gives her the right to criticize her employer’s evil ways. Yeah, we’re talking about AOL.

You can read how Princess Alexia spanks Darth Aol here.

As a fellow Trojan (we are both alumni of the University of Southern California), I should be sympathetic just because! Fight on, Alexia! “Fight On!” was our motto at USC.

On the other hand, she’s fighting a bigger fight – the kind of fight that I can get excited about. Alexia is fighting corruption. She may not even know it. But Alexia is fighting the corruption of the press – an institution whose relevance to Freedom and Democracy was once considered so vital that it necessitated unambiguous protection by a Constitutional Amendment.

Wild-eyed commentators are quick to remind us that the press can no longer be trusted. You know the type, independent bloggers, citizen journalists, savvy geeks, successful entrepreneurs, snarky academics, Marxists, yada yada. Rarely does someone who works for the Man, criticize the other hand of the Man, and keep on working for the Man.

Ben Wedeman of CNN, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times and Jeff Jarvis appear to be exceptions insofar as they thunder like heavy, loose cannons. On occasion.

For the most part, people don’t care. We are bored by insinuations that corporate media organizations (currently charading as the press) cover events and people of note with a bias that orients according to corporate ambitions, financial interests, political alignments, etc. The summoned jurors never report for duty. No one cares until it’s about something that concerns them.

Until it’s something you care about, such insinuations, accusations and suggestions are shabby exercises in paranoia, conspiracy-psychobabble, or just more yada yada.

Egyptians were quick to notice the initial disinterest of the mainstream media regarding the first days of the January 25th protest. Until things got interesting (Molotov cocktails, tear gas, live ammunition, murder, 100s of thousands of people on the street), the mainstream media didn’t see a story worthy of global interest. It didn’t matter if it was about freedom, democracy and the want for justice – freedom and democracy are over-rated stories to the modern news organization.

When the mainstream media started to cover the drama of the Egyptian revolution, most of them were spinning the story the wrong way. Beyond Fox News being unable to find Egypt on the map, the mainstream media paraded their cynicism and skepticism like a 14 year old pimp waving a fistful of counterfeit dollars. It took them a little more than a week to get the pulse on the heart-pounding struggle for freedom, democracy and dignity.

Those of us who watched the Egyptian revolution roll out (at least as far as the resignation of Hosni Mubarak) became aware of how the state-managed Egyptian press lacked any commitment to truth, justice and to the people. The kicker is that it’s not all that different for us who pride ourselves on democratic pretenses.

It’s so bad that now we have to go to Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere on the Internet to get a more clear and accurate view of what’s happening in our world, our nation, and our cities.

Oh- everything is stabilizing at Fukushima. Pay no attention to the unbid tears streaming down the face of Tokyo Electric Power Company Managing Director Akio Komiri here.

Fight on, Princess Alexia. Fight on!

May the Force be with you.

Stan Faryna
19 March 2011
Bucharest, Romania

If you’d like to connect with me, follow @Faryna and tweet me up on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/faryna

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About Stan Faryna

Mr. Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.

Stan Faryna served as a Global Voices author and translator. Global Voices is a non-profit global citizens’ media project founded at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a research think-tank focused on the Internet’s impact on society.

His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago DefenderJurnalul NationalThe Washington TimesSagarSaptamana FinanciaraSocial Justice Review, and other publications.

Mr. Faryna also served as editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Copyright

Copyright 1996 to 2012 by Stan Faryna.

Here’s my fair use policy for my content:

If you want to share my content with your own audience, you may quote a brief excerpt, if and only if, you provide proper attribution (Source: The unofficial blog of Stan Faryna) with a direct link to the source. Generally speaking, as long as you are not acting as an agent or on behalf of a corporation or institution, I am not interested in any payment for the quotation or use of a complete article. Nevertheless, you may not republish or translate the entire article without my written permission. Send your request for permission via Facebook. Or tweet me up me on Twitter.

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4 Responses to Darth Aol, A Princess, And A Legend of a Free Press

  1. Stan, great post. I think we will see a lot of this as more internet companies and startups fall under the spell of M&A.

    Reading both Alexa’s article and Movifone’s response, I sincerely do not see where she truly stepped over any line that would instigate that type of response. But the context of the response from Moviefone is what riled her up, and rightfully so. She probably had no idea where that came from. That it came from the source that set up the event made it more “snarky.”

    Deeper in the article she states that if they were ever told to change their editorial, they (TechCrunch) would be public about it.

    Oops.

    This is a business and, like all other media outlets, must follow the rules for engagement. If you don’t, you are replaced with someone (or something!) that will.

    Is that corruption of free press? I’m not sure. For-profit conglomerates with a voice get to do things their way. Perhaps Ms. Tsotsis would be better suited for an NPO.

    My guess is that Ms. Tsotsis was informed afte this that she has two choices, get with the program or find a new way to pay the bills.

    • stanfaryna says:

      Paul,

      Thanks again for stirring up this forensic foray into the corruption of the press.

      Techcrunch has always been snarky and politically incorrect. Arrington’s exchange of snark with Yahoo’s CEO Carol Bartz is a juicy example. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zq4A1uCQ1w0

      Snark is one of the ingredients in Techcrunch’s awesome sauce. That’s what geeks crave.

      Are we really talking about corruption of the press?

      I think we are. But it’s not something new. It’s been going on for who knows how long. But it got worse when vast media empires were consolidated through M&As as you have pointed out with a little tongue-in-cheek.

      I think if we consider my question below, it becomes fairly clear to us about what’s wrong with today’s press.

      Are agents of a media corporation entitled to the same privileges of the press as guaranteed by constitutions- if they are speaking out with an unfair bias for the bottom line?

  2. […] culture of that time is not different from the ambitions of the corporate-media enterprise such as AOL. They want to capture the heart of a cultural engine that holds unimaginable social […]

  3. […] life, love, blogging, friendship, money, corruption, a broken marriage, a hero, Darth AOL, PHP, online strategy, or whatever. […]

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