Internet

Twitter the Winner in Weinergate

Twitter WeinerThe only winner to emerge from the "Weinergate" scandal is Twitter, which once again paraded its effectiveness at everything from bringing down dictators to engaging in political self-immolation. Twitter is truly a double-edged sword. It can be used for good things like facilitating communication after natural disasters, or it can facilitate disaster itself by amplifying the effects of poor human judgment. In the time it took to make a single stroke on a computer key and then lie about it, Anthony Weiner destroyed his credibility, damaged his marriage and his integrity, handed endless fodder to his political enemies and singlehandedly diverted attention from a huge number of truly important domestic and global issues, for example that the U.S. is spending $2 billion a week in Afghanistan while cutting desperately-needed programs and services here at home, or that an unprecedented three nuclear reactors experienced full meltdowns at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The Weinergate scandal shows that a little salacious piece of information sent out on Twitter has the tremendous power to wipe far more important news off the media map -- a realization that itself has huge implications when it comes to controlling what people see and hear in the mass media.

The Day Egypt Disappeared

On February 11, 2011, after 30 years of dictatorship, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak announced he was stepping down. As ancient pharaohs slumbered inside, a crowd of over a million surrounded the rose-colored Cairo Museum setting off fireworks and jumping for joy as they peacefully forced a modern pharaoh to flee. This hopeful moment will be studied for years, and no topic will be more hotly debated than the role of social media in the uprising.

American Tort Reform Association Issues "Judicial Hellhole" Report

The American Tort Reform Association, a front group for big chemical, tobacco, insurance, pharmaceutical and other companies whose products or pollution have been known to make people sick or kill them, has released its ninth annual "judicial hellholes" report which attacks judges and juries who hold their members accountable in court. This year's top "hellhole" is Philadelphia, which won in part due to its Complex Litigation Center, which was created exclusively to handle complex, mass tort cases like those regarding asbestos, hormone replacement therapy, nursing home litigation and suits against drugs like Avandia, Paxil, Phen-Fen and Risperdal. The Center's most recent cases involve pharmaceutical defendants who are being sued over birth control pills in the Yaz/Yazmin/Ocella mass tort. Plaintiffs allege that the pills caused injuries like pulmonary embolism, blood clots in the legs, heart attacks, strokes, gall bladder and kidney disease.

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Wow, Nice Tibias

XRayPinupGirlThe EIZO Company of Japan is a relatively obscure manufacturer of x-ray monitors and medical imaging displays, but thanks to the work of the Butter Advertising Agency in Berlin/Duesseldorf, Germany, the company is grabbing attention with a new promotional pinup calendar that shows everything -- and we mean everything. X-ray images of nude models posted on the Internet caused a viral storm of commenting and link-sharing.

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"Digg Patriots" Shut Out Liberal Content

Digg logoAn undercover investigation of the popular Web site Digg.com shows a group of conservative users secretly banded together to censor liberal Web content on the site. One of the most popular sites on the Internet, Digg.com works on a simple premise: people submit Web content -- like news stories, videos or images -- for consideration, and Digg subscribers vote them up or down.

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AMC's "Mad Men" Atones for Ubiquitous Smoking

BPlogoAMC's Emmy-award winning TV show "Mad Men" depicts advertising executives in the 1960s, including their ubiquitous smoking, which occurs in practically every scene in every show. Now "Mad Men" is holding a celebrity auction on E-Bay in which it will sell off a walk-on role in the show to benefit lung cancer research and treatment at the City of Hope National Medical Center.

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Here's an Idea: Apply the Journalistic Ethics Code

In the wake of the Shirley Sherrod incident and what it exposed about the deteriorating state of contemporary journalism, Jonathan Bernstein, the editor of an Internet-based crisis management newsletter called "Crisis Manager," is proposing that the journalistic and news-consuming community fight back against the lagging quality of journalism in the U.S.

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Time for Journalists to Differentiate Propaganda from News

The recent attempt by the right-wing propaganda machine to stir up interracial hatred by smearing Department of Agriculture employee Shirley Sherrod should be a call to action for traditional journalists. It is now clear that a component of the right's campaign against President Obama is creating racial backlash through the fabrication of false and outrageous propaganda.

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Procter & Gamble Blames Parents, Social Media for "Chemical Burn" Allegations

Dry MaxWhen parents of toddlers started complaining that Procter & Gamble's new "Dry Max" Pampers were giving their kids severe diaper rash, Jodi Allen, P&G's Vice President for Pampers took prompt action -- and blamed the childrens' parents and social media for spreading false rumors about their products.

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