The UK media analysis website Medialens picked up my post a few weeks back about BBC documentary film maker Adam Curtis’s claim that Bloggers are “bullies”. It generated a bit of response on their message board including this one from the editors themselves which I think says it pretty well:
It’s interesting that Curtis should be so vexed by internet-based “bullies” who do nothing more than send emails. That means that all these newspaper websites like Comment Is Free are actively drawing “bullies” to their sites to intimidate their journalists. Question Time actually invites bullies to intimidate politicians in person, face to face. Amnesty International are ‘bullying’ foreign governments with letters from supporters. Shameful!
There are real bullies in society, of course – giant corporations and political groups that use their immense financial, legal, and in fact military, power to genuinely bully the world into line. If Curtis takes a look about him, he’ll see that the senior managers of his own organisation were very recently bundled out of their offices by government bullying. The real resistance to this institutionalised bullying has always been democratic pressure from below – this has often been the only hope of reining in the real bullies. I would argue that what we’re doing is a form of anti-bullying – we’re trying to make it harder for the real bullies to harm people and animals.
But the question is, assuming compassion for suffering is what matters, what motivates us (as it should, in our view), why would anyone spend time worrying about the mild nuisance of emails from the public when there are these authentic monsters throwing their weight around and in fact, in the case of Iraq, causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people?