Thursday, June 3, 2010

The revolution will be televised

Those of us growing up in the 1960s might remember the song by Gil Scott-Heron, The Revolution Will Not be Televised. If you read over his lyrics, you will see lots of cultural references to the era. Remember, Vietnam was our first televised war. Before we had the Internet, we all watched the evening network news and could see the daily battles, body counts, and see for ourselves what was happening half a world away. It was a transformative media moment.
http://www.gilscottheron.com/lyrevol.html

While it wasn't live, it was very powerful TV. We had the full filtering and editing prowess of the network TV news organizations, with reporters on the ground and editors back in New York to package it neatly into 22-minute programs. We had Uncle Walter and Chet and David to tell us what was the significance of what we were seeing, and we had a simple us-versus-them war (which we lost big time, by the way). How simple those days seem now.

This week we witnessed another transformative moment, using the Internet and live streaming technology as another weapon. This time we are seeing events from the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, as a group of boats were stopped by Israeli military on their way to try to break the Gaza blockade. The flotilla came well prepared, not with traditional weaponry but with TV cameras and Web uplinks to broadcast what was going on to the world at http://www.livestream.com/insaniyardim.

The Livestream.com site is a tool that anyone with a Webcam and a broadband Internet connection can quickly become their own broadcaster, and the site carries thousands of live video feeds all day long.

Max Haot, Livestream’s co-founder said in the New York Times that he thought about whether to censor the live flotilla video but decided not to do so. He thought the Gaza flotilla was “a controversial but genuine humanitarian mission.” Still, he found himself thinking that his company needed policies in place to handle live videos of conflicts in the future. “After the events unfolded, I spent most of my Monday wondering if we had helped terrorists or a great humanitarian cause.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/02/world/middleeast/02media.html

Part of the issue was that we could watch the scene unfiltered, yet we still don't really know what happened. Were the flotilla organizers humanitarian aid workers or terrorists with a very clever propaganda agenda? Who attacked whom? Was the concrete and steel being carried by the flotilla going to be used in Gaza to protect civilians or store munitions? What we do know is that at least nine people were killed during the raid. What we don't know is how many Gazans and Israelis die every day because of the sad circumstances there. What we forget is that Gaza is run by a group that doesn't even want to acknowledge Israel's existence. The deeper that I and anyone else dug into this, the more unanswered questions I came away with.

Perhaps as the other journalists who were on the boats can tell their stories we can assemble a more complete picture. (The Israelis confiscated their equipment shortly after they boarded the boats.) But one thing is clear: Wars will be fought in real-time in the future, with world-wide audiences. In the words of Scott-Heron, "You will not be able to stay home, brother. You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out."

"[Israel] may be a start up nation, but we are bricks and mortar communicators. Our adversaries have control-alt-deleted us," writes Amir Mizroch, the executive editor of The Jerusalem Post, in Wired:
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/06/how-free-explains-israels-flotilla-fiasco/

17 comments:

俊達 said...

As a man sows, so he shall reap...................................................

筠銘 said...

人有兩眼一舌,是為了觀察倍於說話的緣故。...............................................................

姵Roman潔 said...

your wife is very charming!............................................................

asda said...

文章不求沽名釣譽,率性就是真的......................................................

瓊文瓊文 said...

人生是故事的創造與遺忘。..................................................................

育淑 said...

被人揭下面具是一種失敗,自己揭下面具卻是種勝利。..................................................................

李哲維 said...

Quality is better than quantity..................................................................                           

文辰文辰 said...

知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。......................................................................

法邦法邦 said...

成熟,就是有能力適應生活中的模糊。.................................................................

f聖傑陳文盧筠 said...

走過路過~不能錯過~哈哈............................................................

JasonBirk佳琪 said...

工作,是愛的具體化~~~~努力吧!............................................................

吳婷婷 said...

下次再來希望可以看到新的作品喔。..................................................

姿柯瑩柯dgdd憶曾g智曾 said...

唯有穿鞋的人,才知道鞋的哪一處擠腳............................................................

婷珊 said...

唯有用熱情、用智慧去觀察事物,這事物才會把他的秘密,洩漏給我們............................................................

淑娟淑娟淑娟 said...

感謝您願意分享您的生活經驗~~支持您的更新哦!............................................................

淑娟淑娟淑娟 said...

如此動感的blog!!!..................................................................

彥安 said...

有夢最美啦~~加油!元氣滿點!...............................................................

About Me

My photo
David Strom has looked at hundreds of computer products over a more than 20 year career in IT and computer journalism. He was the founding editor-in-chief of Network Computing magazine, and now writes for Baseline, Information Security, Tom's Hardware, and the New York Times.