Friday, September 28, 2007
The Making of a Blogger
A techie, I’m not. Nor am I receiving kickbacks for promoting online services. But about 10 years ago, I fell in love with the Internet — and that’s despite the fact I’m still without high-speed access.
As technologically impaired as I am, even a partial list of the ways my computer helps me manage my life is impressive: online banking, getting directions, keeping up with Minnesota weather, and Googling important stuff for my latest post on Katalusis.
But here’s a secret: online news sources have long intrigued me more than any other magic on the Web.
I’ve been a news junkie from an early age. It all started when my older brother Kenneth shipped out with the 124th Infantry Division for combat duty in Korea. Until the day he returned home, my family listened to the news on the radio every hour on the hour.
By dint of repetition my impressionable young mind retained for years odd bits of trivia; for example, Michael V. DiSalle of Toledo, Ohio was the price administrator under President Harry Truman.
(In between news broadcasts, I followed the Cleveland Indians, but don’t get me started on baseball statistics; that’s not an issue where I care to engage Alan Greenspan.)
Most important, sitting in the family circle and listening for news from the Korean battlefield taught me how events on the other side of the globe affect every waking moment of our lives. I’ve been addicted to knowing what’s going on in the world ever since.
I thought I’d died and gone to news junkie heaven when I discovered I had daily access to online versions of the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, CNN, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the International Herald Tribune, and the London Times, to name just a few.
And that was way before I discovered the blogosphere, a wide-open territory where I’ve not even begun to learn my way around. I’m ashamed to admit I was introduced to blogs on the front pages of the mainstream media where I’ve met the likes of Dan Froomkin and Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post and Mike Nizza at the New York Times.
Incidentally, at the rate it’s going, the MSM may soon co-opt the blogosphere; I hear the New York Times now hosts 30 plus blogs on its pages.
A complete MSM takeover would be unfortunate. The ongoing Alan Greenspan travesty is just one good example why an independent blogosphere is essential. When word of Greenspan’s memoir first broke in the Washington Post with Bob Woodward’s review of The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, I was as stunned as anyone else by this quote from Greenspan, "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."
The 81-year-old former chairman of the Federal Reserve has stifled the nascent controversy by treating his rationale for the invasion of Iraq as if it were just, well, common sense: “What?” the oracle of American finance deftly exclaims, “Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the security of oil reserves in the Middle East!”
For in-depth coverage, I usually begin my day with at least an hour-long fix of breaking news from the wire services and analyses of current events by respected commentators. Since Greenspan’s original remark about the war was first published, I’ve been waiting in vain for the media — mainstream or otherwise — to challenge the ethical and moral right of one nation to invade another to secure their oil supplies.
The Huffington Post came through the other day. While comparing Greenspan’s Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World to Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,
Huffington notes Klein’s challenge to Greenspan on Democracy Now.
In response to Greenspan’s justification for taking out Hussein to stabilize the world’s oil supply, Klein asks, “"Are you aware that, according to Hague Regulations and the Geneva Conventions, it is illegal for one country to invade another over its natural resources?"
Evidently Greenspan was unaware of the applicable international law. And I’m left wondering how many American citizens are as oblivious as he is. More important, how many care?
I launched Katalusis in late August, so I’ve only been blogging for about a month. But this particular issue seems made to order for an independent blogosphere, and I’m hoping my fellow progressive bloggers will rise to the occasion and sound the alarm.