James D. Miller, Assistant Professor of Economics at Smith College and contributor to online tech-site Tech Central Station (TCS) has joined the recently spate of blog bashing, with a post at TCS that warns that blogs may soon make many Americans afraid to speak their minds.
Miller, who famously predicted in 2002 that web users would “undoubtedly prefer” the “bells and tassels of sexy high tech sites” to “static text-based blogging pages”, and that popular bloggers will either have to sell out to old media companies or “wither in importance”, based his scaremongering on the cases of Eason Jordan, the CNN Executive who resigned Friday after alleging that the US Army targets Journalists on the battlefield, Trent Lott and Larry Summers.
Whilst providing an reasonably indepth justification for his conclusions, a change from the recent spate of blog-bashing on the web, he none the less ignores the validity of the three examples referenced as news fit for reporting, and seemingly seeks to justify the comments of Jordan, Trott and Summers as fair and reasonable based on the context that everyone has bad thoughts, and therefore they should be forgiven.
Indeed he pleads “for a new social order under which a few offensive spoken remarks, even if highly odious and taken in context, are forgiven. Most everyone has some fairly nasty thoughts and occasionally these thoughts turn into speech. If we allow a few obnoxious comments to destroy someone’s career, many will avoid engaging in free-wielding discussions.”
Given his quoting of people who have upset the right, the left and women (in that order), he now runs the risk of attack himself on all three fronts.
If those who hold positions of power, influence or celebrity do say offensive things, they should be held to account. The alternative is communism, fascism or male domination (depending on your own political views).