Davos07: Big guys on blogs

At a session about the changing power equation, Gordon Brown, the man ready to move into No. 10 Downing St., is giving a rousing and enthusiastic endorsement of blogs and a charge to politicians, telling they they must listen and join in the debate. “You cannot make political decisions now without people being included in the decision,” he says. “The age of the smoke-filled room is over.” He argues that political leaders must go to convince people on policies such as trade and globalization; they must engage in big, national debates. He says that politicians are “catching up” with the people online.

Rupert Murdoch says that when big media gets it wrong, blogs are making them right. He also says that big media has much less power today.

Jack Ma, head of Alibaba in China, the ecommerce company, gives an endorsement of internet censorship — in the form of pornography and violence — and then even says that after 2,000 years of imperial rule, democracy would not work there. I find that argument, which I hear at events with people from inside China, frightening. Murdoch later takes it on, gently, saying that China believes this control is the role of the state and here we believe it is the role of parents. Brown says he is opposed to censorship in any form but that we need to understand the added pressure parents are under and help them.

  • Will the Davos bloggers also consider the way journalists in the US and UK restrain comment in a way they see as responsible but also suits government policy? I am thinking of the Al Jazeera memo for example. The Daily Mirror reported a possible discussion about bombing a television station. This is now subject of a court case under the Official Secrets Act to be held partly in secret. I find there is not as much reporting of this as I would expect.

    I am not supporting censorship in China. But the discussion on press freedom etc. should also include some facts about the US and UK.

  • Tell Brown “Right On Dude” for me. We southern (US) bloggers are having a field day smokin’ out all kinda backroom shinnanigans now that the Georgia Legislature is in session again, and we (politically-minded bloggers) are starting to gel in some just downright delightful ways; outside of Louisiana, these here Georgia boys about wrote the book on smoke-filled room lawmaking.

    We have so much material to work with in GA that we can just hit any key and start a firestorm. And believe you me, MSM is watching our every move — just like the little chickensh*ts charlatans they’ve become. The most fun, especially for a former MSM gal like me at least, is calling THEM out for their decades of compliance and pandering. (Don’t tell ’em what tail is wagging what dog now. They STILL think they’re the whole bark in town, bless their hearts… so slow that even Murdoch’s rumblings have yet to hit town.) Politicians are not so much “catching up” (yet) in the Deep South as trying to duck and cover.

    And you wanna see the most scramblin’ outside of a Waffle House, look no further than the AJC, Cox Enterprises (that would be virtually all of our radio and TV in Atlanta), Georgia Public Broadcasting, or the entire southern-based PR industry. They’re so slow ’round here that most are still trying to figure out what hit ’em, and what ancient downtown business club to call a luncheon (It’s always a “luncheon” round here, never just “lunch”) meeting within so that they can “initiate a discussion” (typically sponsored by Delta or Coke in the old days) to see what can be “done” about this “trend.” Heeeeelarious!

    I swear I haven’t had this much fun in years.

  • Murdoch is correct. The Chinese government believes its role is to protect society from destabilizing influences, including anything that would limit the state’s ability to protect society.

    China will get democracy eventually, but it won’t happen tomorrow. In the meantime, it’s up to Murdoch, Jack Ma, Google and the rest of us keep pushing the door open a little wider every day.

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