[Marxism] How Do We Receive Our News? (Was Facebook Frustration)

Bill Quimby quimbywm at gmail.com
Sat Mar 3 15:00:53 MST 2012

Riffing on a larger issue - or series of issues. For communication of "news" we have

1. Major newspapers ( especially in the US - I haven't noticed this happening in
France or England (?) ) are increasingly behind firewalls - making anything that
smacks of "in-depth" analysis unreachable to most. (I mean, the NY Times is
*only* $15 a month? That's $180 a year!)

2. Minor newspapers? Except for the crime and freeway accidents, fugedaboutit.

3. "Local" TV news - all 5 second sound bites.

4. The cable TV news shows are useful and entertaining (I enjoy Maddow's bite) but
accessible only after you have paid your cable bill! And the quality of analysis (if
you can hear it over the several people attempting to talk at the same time) is erratic
and superficial.

5. Cell phone communications may some day be under the threat of shutdown at times when
such communication is critical - a la the BART incident. See "F.C.C. Asks for
Guidance on Whether, and When, to Cut Off Cellphone Service" at


6. Facebook and Twitter are not (and were not intended as) in-depth news tools.

7. We come to the blog - and we all know of many excellent ones. And there are various
web sites that attempt to combine coverage of events with some degree of detail and
reference (thinking WSWS, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, etc.). But how deeply do these
reach into the general population? What is the readership of Leninology? And wouldn't
we all have arguments against having each of their interpretations accepted by the
general population as authoritative and complete in the first place?

8. And THEN we have the human limitations aspect. As Mark Lause just said about
Marxmail."Actually keeping up with everything posted here would be a full-time job.
I have one of those and it actually takes about 60-70 hours a week."

9. And what of the issues of the ideological position of the reader? How could any one
left-oriented news source succeed with "analysis" when there are 100 subtle varieties
of leftism?

10. So how can we make "deep coverage" and "careful analysis"
- accessible (at least minimally expensive)
- not subject to "controls" (with the recognition of course that the hegemonic
individual often acts as her/his own censor)
- less time consuming
- less repetitive and more on point
- in short, interesting?

I have no solutions to offer. I was impressed some twenty years ago with the vision
of a hypertext version of Ulysses - every reference to Irish history or a foreign
literary source linked to an explanation or full-text source. (I still haven't seen
one.) Imagine a website that offers its outrage at, for example, a new Republican
bill, but also links one to the full text of that bill (annotated, of course, and
with a background on the stooges sponsoring it) and to several blog commentaries,
editorials, magazine articles, Louis' blog post which he wrote several years before
presciently knowing that this was going to be an issue someday, etc.etc.

And that idea of a Marxist wiki - could there by a wiki-like site on contemporary
news and issues?

But geez, who has the time? And money? And anyway, for a Marxist, isn't getting
caught up in the inner turmoil of a system - a system that you want to replace - a
trap and a waste of effort? But then how DOES one reach the npn-Marxist? How
DOES one raise the consciousness of a class?

Like I say, just riffing.

- Bill

On 3/3/2012 9:54 AM, Louis Proyect wrote:
> ====================================================================== Rule #1:
> YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
> ======================================================================
> I simply don't understand how comrades with a large number of FB "friends" can
> wade through all the stuff to find something relevant. I only have 330 friends and
> it takes forever to go through the posts. I know that some people who are really
> into it have more than a thousand "friends". It is the same kind of complaint I
> used to hear from people who unsubbed from Marxmail because they couldn't deal
> with the volume. That is why I set a 5 post a day maximum. Part of the problem is
> that my FB friends feel the need to convey information that will not be news to
> anybody on top of current events. For example, I don't need to be informed about
> Rush Limbaugh's sexist radio commentary. I guess that goes with the territory when
> you become "friends" with total strangers.
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