Davos07: Bloggers as a privileged class

Ben Hammersley of the Guardian — one of my roomies in the crowded lodgings of Davos — notes with a tinge of complaint that bloggers got better access than big media at Davos:

Still, all of this meant that the World Economic Forum gave some bloggers – Jeff Jarvis, Loic Le Meur, for example – greater access rights than the regular media. Bloggers with HD camcorders could wander anywhere in the building, while professional crews were restricted to the hallways and 30-minute bursts. Openness, it seems, is only for the amateur.

Well, ain’t that ironic?

Ben also notes (as I try to in a post that will soon follow) that the conversation had its limits:

The way the Davos attendees treated the web – as both the most important thing in the world, and the most trivial toy they could safely ignore – was telling. Mostly it was fear. You guys, blessed blog readers, scare the Davos attendees silly. The entire conference had the air of panic of a sort that reminded me of Marie Antoinette frantically kneading dough. Openness, conversation, the worldwide electronic harmony of man – all were talked about in the way that comment threads here on Cif go when columnists get thoughtful about their place in the world.

If we don’t open up, the organisation seemed to feel, we’ll die of irrelevance. It wasn’t just the meeting itself: Gordon Brown declared the end to “smoke-filled rooms”, and speaker after speaker declared their allegiance to openness and the way of the wiki. The biggest round of applause I heard all week was not for Blair, but for Jimmy Wales, creator of the Wikipedia – which, given the audience, was applause more from fear than hearty thanks for a much-loved site.

But the continual harping on about openness was obviously nonsense. That a meeting of a couple of thousand of the world’s richest and most powerful people might be something one could truly join, especially over the medium of comment threads, is either wishful thinking of the most surreal kind, or a cruel joke: a sop. . . .

But I wonder whether the original premise of giving bloggers access to Davos is true? After all you’ve read this past week, both here and on other blogs, do you feel that without the access that we could get this year the meeting would have been doomed to irrelevancy? Isn’t this just technophobic hysteria? Or is there a value to closed-door dealings? An unexamined life may be not worth living, but does it really need to be on show all the time? What don’t you want to know about? What don’t you want to comment on?