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Editorial Reflections

How do we choose to use the gifts of media we have?

Since publishing the article on the digital cloud requiring extensive storage space and adding to the concrete, diesel exhaust and energy use “footprint” in Quincy, I have heard that half of what is on the internet/stored on the cloud is pornography.  Is that true?  Agreements we sign to use servers, all prohibit use for porn.

Since the Boston marathon bombing, we have been reminded of the ready access online to recipes for making bombs and media show examples as they cover the story.

FreePress.net reports that billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch want to buy some of America’s major newspapers to push their “anti environment, anti-labor and anti-democracy political agenda.”  In bankruptcy, the Tribune Company is selling eight daily newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times.

As FreePress.net says, “we don’t need more corporate control of our media and our politics.  We need journalism that uncovers corruption—not hack writing that covers it up”—journalism that “acts as a watchdog against the wealthy and powerful.”

Freedom is not free.  It’s expensive and risky.  It’s about who has access to media and how they use it.  We have long been told we cannot stop pornography, which degrades and abuses women, men and children, and we cannot stop violent videos, even those that engage viewers actively in shooting and mayhem.  We can license cars and drivers, but not guns or gun owners, because we don’t want to lose our freedom.

Democracy is a tenuous system that can easily veer to anarchy, nihilism, oligarchy, plutocracy, autocracy, organized crime, human rights abuses, slavery, poverty, corruption—well, you name it.  If you don’t know what some of these systems are, check them online and learn. 

It’s a blessing of the internet that we have information at our fingertips.

I just read a book of short summaries of the lives of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, George Washington and Abigail Adams to my grandson, and ponder on the breakaway from the oppressive British colonial control into new ventures and visions of freedom, equality, rights, dignity, justice and opportunity.

Even then, the people knew freedom was dangerous and scary, even if freedom for one undermined freedom for others and the wellbeing of society.  Ideas flowed off printing presses, spreading ideas and ideals of democracy and freedom.

Our media opportunities today are an incredible gift for good, for connecting people with common concerns to voice opinions, grievances and gratitude to decision-makers, and to have access to information on ways to improve our lives, communities and the world—from composting to fair trade, household hints, historical insights, political action and more.

It’s our choice how we use the gifts we have been given. 


By Mary Stamp - Editor



Copyright © May 2013 - The Fig Tree