What a Web We’re Weaving

Friday I was looking for some ideas on how to adapt the MT models to my own web page. So I went to their homepage and started looking through recently updated sites for ideas.

The site design I liked the most (you can, after all, always change colors) was on a site called inappropriate response, an aptly name site, as it turns out. Well, I can’t visit a site without actually reading some of the articles. So, I read an article entitled “It Feels Palpable” wherein the author recommends “a sober, unsensationalized source of information on Israel and the Palestinians.”

Naturally enough, I go to the page. Who wouldn’t want an “unsensationalized” source of information on the Israel-Palestine conflict? As soon as I noticed the address of the source, however:
27 abdara road
university town
Peshawar, Pakistan
I began to have some doubts about how objective the magazine might be. Of course, lines like, “Welcome to the jungle, it seems we have entered the hunting season in the occupied territories”and “It feels palpable that the Israeli army’s deadly errors are a state sponsored policy, aimed at “purifying Judea and Samaria” served to reinforce these doubts.

I did, however, feel much reassured 🙁 after reading the author’s reply to a reader who must have felt much like I did, “Robert, darlin', thanks for commenting, but please have your sarcasm meter recalibrated. (Inappropriate Response is a decidedly pro-Israel blog.)” I don’t care what Moira Breen’s politics are, these are not the descriptions of an “objective” news source. I wonder if Moira understands the basic concepts of “connotation” and “denotation.” It certainly didn’t appear so.

My curiosity piqued, I decided to pursue my doubts a little further. Entering “ Moira Breen,” the author’s name, into Huevos, another neat Mac-only program, sorry Jonathan, that makes googling easier than ever, I found a link to Fox News Channel: Views, an attempt, as they put it, to bring “some of the web's newest voices under its wing with the addition of the Fox Weblog. With it, we hope to bring the far-flung corners of the Internet to your desktop, with a little commentary on the side.”

It’s not too surprising that someone who has so little understanding of what an objective news source might look like ends up writing for Fox news is it?

I might have had even more to say about this connection, but I was only able to find one article on Fox, and even though there are a number of complaints about her rants at the end of the article, at least she’s up front enough to present them in her column. Can't ask for much more than that.

What’s more, I even found myself agreeing with much of what she said in this particular column. Go figure.

There’s some strange stuff showing up on the web, and I don’t envy modern day teachers who are going to need to do a lot better job of teaching what an authority is and how to tell objective reporting from opinionated bull.

A lot of powerful tools are helping to make the web an important source of information, but unless citizens can use them effectively and learn to distinguish between good and bad sources of information, these tools are just as likely to be harmful as they are beneficial.

What do you think?