Monday, June 05, 2006

New Media Collaborates with Old Tyrannies

When it comes to the Chinese police state both the old and new media are more than happy to oblige. News Corp has helped the PRC build its digital wall. Microsoft has censored an MSN Spaces user's blog at the request of the Chinese authorities. Google has censored its chinese search engine so no troubling mentions of democracy or Taiwan come up. Yahoo though topped them all when it turned over information from a journalist's Yahoo email who had emailed comments from a newspaper staff meeting which which the Chinese government decided was classified information. The journalist went to jail through information provided by Yahoo.

When Yahoo chief Terry Semmel appeared at the All Things Digital conference he expected to discuss technology instead he was asked if he would similarly have collaborated with Nazi Germany. His reply was as follows.

"I don't know how I would have felt then."

All told I think we have a pretty good idea of what Mr. Semmel and the others would have done. The irony is that Silicon Valley is the home of an often rabid yuppified liberalism. Google has made 99 percent of its political donations to Democratic candidates. Bill Gates has pumped millions into the Democratic party. Yet their vaunted committment to liberalism consists mainly of opposing Republicans, just not of supporting democracy or freedom of speech in other countries. They want to feel good about themselves by donating to Howard Dean, nodding their heads to Moveon's tirades and drinking organic coffee, just not in taking a stand where it matters.

The National Journalists Union of the UK has announced a boycott of Yahoo. But ironically the Journalist's Union is boycotting Yahoo which turned over a journalist's information to China but not the PRC which actually jailed him. By contrast there are half a dozen boycotts against Israel brewing in the UK with anyone from researchers to linguists to architects clambering aboard to be part of the fun. But then as Terry Semmel could inform the Union boycotting the PRC would have actual financial consenquences while ordering their members to boycott a new media firm that doesn't really do individual buisness with their members anyway is a good show without any substance.

China, like the new media, is an old leftist institution, totalitarian in nature, changing itself into a purely capitalist institution and discarding even its left wing ideals in the process. There is little wonder that Yahoo and Google and the rest of the digetirati can relate to it. China is their big brother.

For all the posturing liberal corporate morals end at the checkbook just like conservative corporate ones do. The chief difference is that liberals maintain a pocket industry dedicated to convincing themselves otherwise. In the process the new digital media may take other forms of content but display the same amorality as the old. But organic coffee and paypal donations to left wing candidates can't disguise the fact that the new media boss is much like the old.

By all means boycott Yahoo, not for collaborating with with the chinese government, something Microsoft and Google do equally but for peeling back a layer of the liberal media hypocrisy on compromising integrity for profit.


Anonymous said...

Semel with one M - he shortened it from Schlemiel when he went to work in Hollywood!

Lemon Lime Moon said...

Communists are not as dead and gone as most believe.

Keliata said...

The communist bear hasn't died by any means.

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