(not satire – it’s the UK media today)
You probably won’t have noticed it, but there’s what the military would call a Low Intensity Conflict going on at the moment between social media users – bloggers mainly – and the mainstream press.
And it’s starting to turn nasty.
The attacks on bloggers, Twitter users etc come from an unholy alliance between an establishment seriously concerned about its lack of control over what information the ‘plebs’ can share with each other and professional journalists worried sick about the looming demise of mainstream print media – an industry which had previously been able to guarantee long-term lucrative employment to them but whose very existence is now under threat by social media.
Lord McAlpine’s legal actions against Twitter users and attempts to include blogs in the Leveson legislation are both a result of this conflict and I’m sure there are other bloggers who can confirm my experience of how the mainstream press is reluctantly having to rely more on social media for its sources while at the same time extremely unwilling to acknowledge it.
There is also growing evidence that normal people are turning more and more to social media to air their problems or concerns – knowing if they took their story to the mainstream press they would either be ignored or even worse stitched up by them.
For example would the brave Homebase worker who recently sent me the copy of the internal poster which proved the retailer was using workfare to reduce their payroll costs have been so sure his or her identity would have been kept secret if the mainstream press had got hold of it.
I doubt it.
And when the mainstream press did get hold of the story – they somehow managed to forget (initially at least) to mention it was a blogger the information had been leaked to, not a professional journalist.
However, there is worrying evidence some hacks are starting to turn even nastier in this conflict and are willing to move from attacking bloggers and social media users to attacking the innocent sources of social media news stories themselves.
Recently I wrote a blog post using information from a source who refused all requests for interviews with the mainstream press – this was because the source was (quite rightly) concerned their race might be used against them.
The resulting fury of the mainstream press at being not just pipped to a story but completely excluded from it was so much they decided to try and trash not just me and the story but the sources themselves by accusing them of making the story up, being wrong or just plain lying.
This is unforgiveable.
It seems some journalists don’t care what ‘collateral damage’ they may cause to innocent people in their frantic attempts to do whatever they can to trash social media in order to protect and further their own careers.
They should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.
Related articles by Tom Pride:
Please feel free to comment – you don’t need to register and I’m extremely minimal with the moderating – so please go ahead.
By the way, if you click on any of these buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people. Thanks: