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LAist Rants: Comments, Please!

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Extremist "blogs" are refusing to take readers' comments, and that makes linking to them dangerous.

20th Century mass communication had one drawback as far as the principles of democracy were concerned: It was asymmetrical. A small group of people spoke, and everyone else listened, unable to offer their feedback in any organized or useful way. This is why radio and television have always been such powerful propaganda tools for authoritarian and totalitarian regimes.

The internet was supposed to address this problem. The decentralization of nodes, the leveling of the playing field, were touted by many as the elixir that would miraculously revitalize our decrepit plutocracy. But in much the same way that energy barons have convinced unemployed Southerners that the high-born New Englander in the White House is one of their own, by manipulating not specifically public perception but rather media's reportage of that perception, they've figured out how to co-opt the internet, too. And so the heady days of the blogosphere's infancy as journalism's great white hope have given way to a great big whitewash and a new form of media manipulation: That which looks like a blog, but is in effect an asymmetrical propaganda tool.