January 3, 2007
Over the past decade, people who care about what is happening in the world and who feel compelled to tell the truth about it have had a tremendous realization: we have the means of production to make media. This realization has spurred a media revolution in which the traditional model of passively consuming the news through a corporate filter has given way to a new model of active citizenship and aggressive truth-telling.
With at least 60 million blogs in existence, according to Technorati.com, there are many voices vying for our attention. Though citizen journalists and alternative media-makers often struggle to find distribution and reach a substantial audience, their presence has dramatically and positively altered the media-political complex during this era of columnists bribed by administration officials, news stories created by federal government, increasingly concentrated ownership over the media, risk-averse careerism, and censorship.
It is a clear sign of the democratization of the media when the Internet, once the headquarters of only the political fringe, provides such a strong progressive community that the “Net-Roots” can influence an election on any scale.
Anyone who learns the truth about the Bush administration–whether it is in the context of the war in Iraq, the dismantling of our civil liberties, or anything else on the endless list of injustices and incompetence–should be overwhelmed by outrage. It is largely because of the outrage that the alternative and independent media helped produce that, on Nov. 7, the American voters united to take back their government and reject the pattern of lies, abuses, and assaults on democracy that have been the hallmark of the last six years.
But the problem is, we’re still angry. Elections are part of a continuous democratic process; they are not catharses that cleanse our national conscience, allowing us to idly wait for the anger to build up in time for 2008. The alternative and independent media, and the Left in general, have succeeded in inciting outrage where there should be outrage–now, we must incite hope and true progressive change.
Political and moral outrage cannot sustain itself and effect change unless it is properly channeled and fused with collaboration, activism, and a plan for progress. Too often, the young outraged political commentator becomes the jaded pessimist, slowly beaten down under the weight of his or her own condemnations. As a college student, I have witnessed the anticlimactic disappointment of unfocused outrage, of angry protest without a real plan to make the world better. I helped to create Incite Magazine–which connects news articles with information on social action–because I want to see outrage over the status quo channeled into the energy needed to get involved and fight for specific change.