Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.—A.J. Liebling
That’s why I love to blog: I own this press! That’s why I love it that the blogosphere exists—we all own this press! I see blogging as a subversion of power, formerly–and still to a large extent–concentrated in fewer than a dozen publishing conglomerates. The minute I began blogging I realized I’d seized a chunk of power, and I started watching to see how this freedom, this subversion—this revolution!—would manifest.
The Internet’s had its moments when something that was born or gained momentum here ended up affecting world events. Such a moment is upon us once more. For the past five Sundays the New York Times Book Review has listed a non-fiction best-seller that nearly every respectable newspaper refused to review. Impossible! the editors of that esteemed list might cry out in despair—but it happened, so it’s not impossible. Word of blog spread the news about The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder in which Vincent Bugliosi, the attorney who prosecuted Charles Manson, builds a logical, viable legal case to convict the man responsible for murdering almost 4000 American soldiers in Iraq.
This isn’t a review; I haven’t read the book. I’m not even going to delve into the actual substance of it—god knows, enough people with keener political minds than mine are doing enough of that (and you can read an excerpt here). I just mean to point out this development: to notice, to follow and watch, and see what it means for writers and the people who make a living off us (like the New York Times Book Review).
It’s also something to keep in our arsenal for the next time the Internet is threatened with regulation from government, corporations, or arbiters of morality. I hope some media organization is keeping track of these incidents, should the day come when we have to fight to keep our press free.