As the Islamic republic of Iran faces a crisis of legitimacy and authority, another totality faces a great crisis of legitimacy and authority as well.
Each time an Iranian tweets, each time another live blogging update is made, each time somebody surfing the Internet chooses to check The Daily Dish, the NIAC blog, or the Huffington Post instead of a mainstream news media source for an update on what's happening Iran, the corporate news media becomes more and more impotent.
A nation with a vibrant population of youthful bloggers and tweeters is spurning a democratization of media that the corporate news media never expected. The technology of YouTube, Facebook, blogs, the Internet, and Twitter have combined to create a means for thousands of people in Iran to send dispatches on what is really happening as their government works to stall the use of technology and limit journalism in the country.
The failure of the American news media isn't just why Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish has received and posted comments like these:
"The Cable News Networks have been a joke-- CNN has been awful as you've heard but at least they're talking about it. MSNBC has been showing their stupid documentaries all weekend and FOX has barely mentioned the story lest it get in the way of hours and hours of Obama-bashing (the only time I've seen it discussed was in terms of how badly Obama is handling it)."
"All the lesser news sites are just running AP feeds and AP's reports are barely skimming the surface of what's going on. Everywhere else is pretty much silence-- it's like the entire news industry has taken the weekend off and just can't be bothered to work over the weekend...Thank you for doing all that you have on this. It's been incredible reading your site over the past few days and it's shown more than anything all of the promise of the new media"
It's behind the words of Rachel Maddow's segment on Monday night's show called "Media@Iran."
MADDOW: It rained at my house all weekend -- which was awesome because I had no guilt about not working outside and instead staying inside all day having an intense news experience of what is going on in Iran. There was, of course, actual mainstream news reporting of what was going on there, but, like many people, I essentially built my own coverage from first-person, eyewitness accounts: Iranians uploading digital pictures and videos taken with cell phones or with flip cams, writing about their experiences on blogs, on Twitter, on the open comments sections of major news sites.
Not every Iranian, of course, has access to the Internet, and so, what you're able to get online is undoubtedly a view of the situation that is skewed toward the young and tech-savvy. But it's intoxicating to be able to get that real-time, unfiltered experience of what's happening from the people who are, themselves, experiencing it.
It's why E.D. Kain over at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen wrote this posting: