The Unknown Blogger

I was reading Ranty earlier. He was writing about the struggle with the righteous we’re engaged upon:

It is my belief that we are winning. We are wearing them down. Our words, sometimes laden with sarcasm, sometimes with profanity, (mea culpa), but always with logic and common sense, hurt them. We expose these freaks, for that is what they are, never doubt that, to the sunlight, and they hate that.

And I agree. I think we’re winning too. Or rather, I think that we’re beginning to win.

Ranty goes on to tell people who’ve run out of words to take a break from their keyboards, and come back refreshed another time, because they’re needed, both bloggers and commenters.

It set me thinking about the internet and message boards and blogs. I’ve been on it for 10 years and more now, fighting one battle or other. Five or six years ago it was the Iraq war and the missing WMDs that I was fully engaged with, mostly on the Guardian’s message boards. It was hand-to-hand combat every day. In the beginning the other side had the upper hand, but gradually our side prevailed. It was sheer weight of numbers. The other side began to thin out. Long before it became common knowledge in the MSM that there were no WMDs in Iraq, we knew. We who were watching and reading on the internet message boards and comment threads.

One thing I learned from that experience is that the internet leads the MSM. It all happens on the internet first. The news breaks on the internet first. The opinion forms on the internet first. The MSM follow later, often unwillingly. The MSM is a trailing indicator. It’s what people used to know, and used to think. The internet is far more important than the MSM.

The righteous dominate the MSM. ASH is always getting press releases out. They’re very good at working the MSM to get their story out. But ASH aren’t winning on the internet. They’re not winning on the blogosphere.

The blogosphere is personal. And it’s authentic. When you read somebody’s blog, you’re reading someone’s personal opinion. And they’re giving it to you straight. You might completely disagree with them, but you at least know that’s what they think.

By contrast, the MSM is almost entirely impersonal. Articles on it could’ve been written by anyone. They could have been written by several people. They’re not personal, and they’re not authentic. And, probably because we’re people, we like to hear people express their authentic opinions. It’s why everybody reads the comments under any MSM article. The article may be a fraudulent confection, but the comments will be what people actually think.

And the righteous don’t do personal and authentic. They do press releases. They do news management. They do peer-reviewed papers. And because of that they have no real presence on the blogosphere. Amanda Sandford doesn’t blog. Deborah Arnott doesn’t blog. None of them blog, as far as I can see.

And that’s why they’re losing. They are still thinking in MSM press release terms. All their guns are pointing that way. Meanwhile they’re losing the war that really matters, in the jungles of the internet. The war for hearts and minds.

Because there’s another thing I’ve noticed, and that is that whenever you read something somewhere, doesn’t matter where, a little bit of it rubs off on you. I noticed this a lot when I arrived at the UK blogosphere after years on US leftwing blogs. I was uncomfortable with the frequent rightwing opinions I encountered. Now, a few years on, I don’t notice them. Why? Because I’ve gradually adopted quite a few of the same views. And also quite a few of those views have perhaps been slightly adjusted to be rather less uncomfortable. The blogosphere is a process of negotiation. It’s not people shouting at each other. It’s people talking to each other. And when that happens everybody’s opinion shifts a bit.

For example I was fairly pro-EU about 5 years ago. Family of Nations and all that. I still wish it was like that. But the EU is an authoritarian superstate, and that’s not what I wanted. Yet if my opinion has shifted, it’s almost entirely because of little things I’ve read in blogs over the past few years. The EU is losing the war too here on the blogosphere. It has no presence. When was the last time you checked Herman van Rumpoy’s Belgique blog? Or José Manuel Barroso’s Brussels Roundup? Me neither. They have zero presence. And so they’ve lost.

Yet an old politician like Norman Tebbit can do it. He’s writes his own blog. And he responds to his comments. I don’t agree with a lot of what he says, but he’s writing personally and truthfully, and that’s admirable. Arnott and Barroso and all the rest could do the same if they wanted. But they don’t want to. And they don’t want to because they’re essentially MSM manipulators.

They may now dominate the MSM, just like Saddam’s ready-in-45-minutes WMDs once dominated the MSM in 2003. But the ground is beginning to go from under their feet, as opinions form and become refined on all the blogs and chatrooms and message boards of the internet.

If they were winning, I’d get far more antismoking commenters on my blog than I have been getting. And I hardly get any. I kinda know why. They’re outnumbered. If someone was to post up some message saying how great it was that they no longer had to take a shower after a night out, they’d get flattened. Not by me, but by my commenters. So they don’t bother. Because nobody likes getting flattened. It’s happened to me enough times, so I should know.

We’re in a rather strange situation right now. The righteous antismokers of Tobacco Control have totally won the war on the MSM. But they’ve totally lost it on the internet. We haven’t won the war yet, but we have gained the initiative. And in a few years time you’ll start seeing things you read about smoking and tobacco on the internet being reproduced on the MSM. I’ll be interested to see how all the Arnotts respond when asked about the Nazi origins of antismoking research. And all the money that Sir Richard Doll got from Monsanto and other polluters.

One thing the MSM does have is an ability to get to a lot of people very quickly. Things propagate slowly on the internet, from person to person. It takes months rather than minutes. But it gets there in the end.

Back to Ranty:

…members of our “army” suffer great battle fatigue and lay down their weapons. (In this case I obviously mean their keyboards).

I think that Ranty understates. It’s not just that people suffer fatigue. It’s that sometimes people get killed. Maybe tomorrow some antismoker will post a comment on my blog which will just go through my head like a bullet, and I’ll never write another word about smoking or smoking bans again. You never know which day it’s going to be until you step up onto the parapet one morning and read the latest comments.

It happens in wars. It happens all the time. When you’re killed in a blog war, you don’t get a funeral with shots fired over your grave. You just hope that they’ll find you one day, years later, buried in the cybermud, and that they’ll call you the Unknown Soldier. Or maybe the Unknown Blogger.

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About Frank Davis

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44 Responses to The Unknown Blogger

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you.
    Thank you. Just that, really. I’ve only just started to get involved properly. Not like your 10 years. Not blogging, just commenting, and web researching, and sharing pro choice stuff with people on t’interweb. The thing is, if some people get tired and need to put the baton down for a bit, there’s a battalion of us out there who’ll take it up and continue. Not sure we can write as well as you though.
    But this post really cheered me up, ‘cos an old lag (on our side) knocked me back a bit on some comments elsewhere the other day, saying done that been there. But they hadn’t! I sent some new stuff through they didn’t know about. And now they’re looking into it and all perky and energised again and more people joining in. Leg Iron’s post the other week about the indefatigible (-able sp?) nature of t’Interweb was also masterly.
    So, just thank you.
    (I’m Lysistrata, late at night, me.)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you.
    Thank you. Just that, really. I’ve only just started to get involved properly. Not like your 10 years. Not blogging, just commenting, and web researching, and sharing pro choice stuff with people on t’interweb. The thing is, if some people get tired and need to put the baton down for a bit, there’s a battalion of us out there who’ll take it up and continue. Not sure we can write as well as you though.
    But this post really cheered me up, ‘cos an old lag (on our side) knocked me back a bit on some comments elsewhere the other day, saying done that been there. But they hadn’t! I sent some new stuff through they didn’t know about. And now they’re looking into it and all perky and energised again and more people joining in. Leg Iron’s post the other week about the indefatigible (-able sp?) nature of t’Interweb was also masterly.
    So, just thank you.
    (I’m Lysistrata, late at night, me.)

  3. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Thank you.
    there’s a battalion of us out there who’ll take it up and continue.
    I’m sure too.
    And you’d be one of the best of them.
    Frank

  4. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Thank you.
    there’s a battalion of us out there who’ll take it up and continue.
    I’m sure too.
    And you’d be one of the best of them.
    Frank

  5. Anonymous says:

    Honesty
    A retired journalist I know of (and admire) in my area laments the internet and anonymous commenters. He believes that there is now no authority of editorial control over content. He’s a bit old now, so I think he misses the point in between, which is that this editorial power came with a responsibility and, perhaps in trying to compete with the internet, the mainstream media abused this power and neglected its responsibility. He’s still operating under the misguided belief that there are news editors out there who are doggedly determined to produce the best available version of the truth. Not what authorities or press releases say, but something resembling the truth.
    Without doubt, there has always been dishonesty and sensationalism in the information provided to us by the mainstream media. “If it bleeds, it leads” is hardly a new saying, for example. And the mainstream media contributed to needless scares that took place decades ago, not just today.
    So, what’s the difference between a DDT scare or a “China Syndrome” scare of yesteryear and scares like global warming and secondhand smoke today?
    More than anything, I think it’s the “nudge” factor; the idea being that since media-reality is always something different from actual reality anyway, why not then use this grey-area to a political advantage? Since you can’t get truth-telling right even if you try, why not then bend the truth to suit political goals?
    Is there a difference between over-hyping risk through unintended sensationalism and, recognizing that this tendency exists anyway, and over-hyping a risk for an intended political purpose?
    I say “Yes. There is.” And the reason is not simply that the truth has value, because it’s always debatable what “the truth” is, at least in a philosophical sense. So, “the truth” isn’t so much of value when it comes right down to it, but honesty is of value. Honesty is not truth; honesty is the human intention of communicating the truth. Honesty is flawed and inaccurate, sometimes to the point of resembling the truth as much as an outright lie, but honesty is not a matter of accuracy but a matter of intention.
    My feeling is that a fundamental breakdown, like that we are witnessing, will inevitably occur when honesty is tossed aside, as it has been, in favor of “greater intentions”.
    Is it wrong to tell someone they are “killing the planet” because they leave a light on? Yes, because it’s dishonest. For the same reasons, it’s wrong to tell someone that “third hand smoke” kills, or that snus and e-cigs are dangerous, or that secondhand smoke kills 63,000 Americans every year.
    The way this dishonesty is reported in the mainstream media goes something like this: “Researchers have found that if smokers BELIEVE that they are causing harm to others or society, they are more likely to quit.”
    What’s missing in such a statement? The only worth is placed upon what people BELIEVE. Not honesty, or an attempt at the truth. Rather, the people in question, smokers, are treated like lab rats, as if being honest with them is of no value to begin with. Why? Because they’re smokers, of course! Then the question becomes, “Why are researchers so preoccupied with saving the lives of people whom they can’t even be bothered to be honest with?” Do these researchers believe that these same poeple will somehow be more worthy of simple honesty if they don’t smoke?
    If you smoke, it is entirely acceptable for you to be poked, prodded, fired, denied, ridiculed, shamed, lied to, and lied about. Dump the smokes and, somehow– Eureka! Alakazam! You are now a human of worth and dignity!
    How does the dignity of a human life go from 0 to 100 just because of smoking? That’s preposterous and entirely dishonest.
    A free and productive world can not be sustained with this level of institutional dishonesty. It simply isn’t possible.
    Honesty fundamentally MATTERS.
    I hope that made some sense.
    -WS

  6. Anonymous says:

    Honesty
    A retired journalist I know of (and admire) in my area laments the internet and anonymous commenters. He believes that there is now no authority of editorial control over content. He’s a bit old now, so I think he misses the point in between, which is that this editorial power came with a responsibility and, perhaps in trying to compete with the internet, the mainstream media abused this power and neglected its responsibility. He’s still operating under the misguided belief that there are news editors out there who are doggedly determined to produce the best available version of the truth. Not what authorities or press releases say, but something resembling the truth.
    Without doubt, there has always been dishonesty and sensationalism in the information provided to us by the mainstream media. “If it bleeds, it leads” is hardly a new saying, for example. And the mainstream media contributed to needless scares that took place decades ago, not just today.
    So, what’s the difference between a DDT scare or a “China Syndrome” scare of yesteryear and scares like global warming and secondhand smoke today?
    More than anything, I think it’s the “nudge” factor; the idea being that since media-reality is always something different from actual reality anyway, why not then use this grey-area to a political advantage? Since you can’t get truth-telling right even if you try, why not then bend the truth to suit political goals?
    Is there a difference between over-hyping risk through unintended sensationalism and, recognizing that this tendency exists anyway, and over-hyping a risk for an intended political purpose?
    I say “Yes. There is.” And the reason is not simply that the truth has value, because it’s always debatable what “the truth” is, at least in a philosophical sense. So, “the truth” isn’t so much of value when it comes right down to it, but honesty is of value. Honesty is not truth; honesty is the human intention of communicating the truth. Honesty is flawed and inaccurate, sometimes to the point of resembling the truth as much as an outright lie, but honesty is not a matter of accuracy but a matter of intention.
    My feeling is that a fundamental breakdown, like that we are witnessing, will inevitably occur when honesty is tossed aside, as it has been, in favor of “greater intentions”.
    Is it wrong to tell someone they are “killing the planet” because they leave a light on? Yes, because it’s dishonest. For the same reasons, it’s wrong to tell someone that “third hand smoke” kills, or that snus and e-cigs are dangerous, or that secondhand smoke kills 63,000 Americans every year.
    The way this dishonesty is reported in the mainstream media goes something like this: “Researchers have found that if smokers BELIEVE that they are causing harm to others or society, they are more likely to quit.”
    What’s missing in such a statement? The only worth is placed upon what people BELIEVE. Not honesty, or an attempt at the truth. Rather, the people in question, smokers, are treated like lab rats, as if being honest with them is of no value to begin with. Why? Because they’re smokers, of course! Then the question becomes, “Why are researchers so preoccupied with saving the lives of people whom they can’t even be bothered to be honest with?” Do these researchers believe that these same poeple will somehow be more worthy of simple honesty if they don’t smoke?
    If you smoke, it is entirely acceptable for you to be poked, prodded, fired, denied, ridiculed, shamed, lied to, and lied about. Dump the smokes and, somehow– Eureka! Alakazam! You are now a human of worth and dignity!
    How does the dignity of a human life go from 0 to 100 just because of smoking? That’s preposterous and entirely dishonest.
    A free and productive world can not be sustained with this level of institutional dishonesty. It simply isn’t possible.
    Honesty fundamentally MATTERS.
    I hope that made some sense.
    -WS

  7. Anonymous says:

    I don’t like your analogy with soldiers in a war. I understand your message, but you can walk away unharmed. Other than that, thank you for your hard work.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I don’t like your analogy with soldiers in a war. I understand your message, but you can walk away unharmed. Other than that, thank you for your hard work.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I think if you factor in such casualties as Nightjack, who was outed in order to shut him up and destroy his career as a police officer, and those bloggers who have received death threats and other forms of harassment which damage their professional and private lives, it isn’t such a stretch to compare them to the Unknown soldier. No one has died yet for speaking their mind (as far as I know) but it may only be a matter of time. Some (most?) of the Righteous are intemperate and unstable. And it can be a small step for them to turn threatening words into actions.
    The comments here http://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-tobacco-control-21072.html by one particular lunatic are quite instructive about such a mindset.
    PT Barnum
    PS Frank, is there any way you could get a different typeface or style for your word verification? It’s a significant challenge to decipher.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think if you factor in such casualties as Nightjack, who was outed in order to shut him up and destroy his career as a police officer, and those bloggers who have received death threats and other forms of harassment which damage their professional and private lives, it isn’t such a stretch to compare them to the Unknown soldier. No one has died yet for speaking their mind (as far as I know) but it may only be a matter of time. Some (most?) of the Righteous are intemperate and unstable. And it can be a small step for them to turn threatening words into actions.
    The comments here http://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-tobacco-control-21072.html by one particular lunatic are quite instructive about such a mindset.
    PT Barnum
    PS Frank, is there any way you could get a different typeface or style for your word verification? It’s a significant challenge to decipher.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Yes most of the anti smoking stories in the MSM are merely worded in the same form as advertisments.
    Column inches bought and filled by anti smokers.
    Whata strange product to market ,division.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Yes most of the anti smoking stories in the MSM are merely worded in the same form as advertisments.
    Column inches bought and filled by anti smokers.
    Whata strange product to market ,division.

  13. Frank Davis says:

    It was Ranty’s analogy.
    Just never forget, soldier, that you are missed, that you are needed, and that we want you there at the end.
    And Ranty should know what he’s talking about. He’s been a soldier himself.
    And never mind analogies. I think I’m fighting a war. And I think that the antis declared war on me and smokers like me. I think they’re out to crush us completely. They think it would be a better world without us. They’d murder us all if they thought they could get away with it.
    It’s a real war. It’s not an analogy. The War on Smokers has become part of the War on Drugs. Tobacco companies are now regarded as drug pushers and smokers as drug addicts. And in the War on Drugs people are being shot dead every day somewhere in the world. Soon it’s going to be smokers who are being shot dead. It’s inevitable.
    Frank

  14. Frank Davis says:

    It was Ranty’s analogy.
    Just never forget, soldier, that you are missed, that you are needed, and that we want you there at the end.
    And Ranty should know what he’s talking about. He’s been a soldier himself.
    And never mind analogies. I think I’m fighting a war. And I think that the antis declared war on me and smokers like me. I think they’re out to crush us completely. They think it would be a better world without us. They’d murder us all if they thought they could get away with it.
    It’s a real war. It’s not an analogy. The War on Smokers has become part of the War on Drugs. Tobacco companies are now regarded as drug pushers and smokers as drug addicts. And in the War on Drugs people are being shot dead every day somewhere in the world. Soon it’s going to be smokers who are being shot dead. It’s inevitable.
    Frank

  15. Anonymous says:

    Obviously, you can walk away unharmed physically, and I can see how Frank’s analogy runs the risk of denigrating the very real harms and mutilation suffered by our fighting men. Physically, there’s no comparison, but do we really walk away entirely ‘unharmed’?
    When you read crap like this:
    “When I park my car and go into the office in the morning I have to hold my breath to avoid having to breathe the vile fag effluent pumped into the atmosphere by tobacco abusers lurking around the concourse. Only an outright ban on smoking in all public places will do the job, and that is what is needed….Tobacco abusers spread their filth far and wide, and Parliament has still to stop them doing this.”
    http://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-tobacco-control-21072.html
    don’t you find the insults, the contorted language, the arrogance and bullying are somehow wounding?
    I’ve been reading shit like this for three years, and the accumulative effect has been to change me, and not in a good way. I haven’t lost a leg or had half my face blown off, but I’ve lost my tolerance and self-confidence and any sense of proportion when it comes to matters smoking-related. It’s all harmful.
    But, YES! Our fortunes are changing. That realisation dawned the day the Mail published one of my comments. At last, the MSM awakes!
    Karen

  16. Anonymous says:

    Obviously, you can walk away unharmed physically, and I can see how Frank’s analogy runs the risk of denigrating the very real harms and mutilation suffered by our fighting men. Physically, there’s no comparison, but do we really walk away entirely ‘unharmed’?
    When you read crap like this:
    “When I park my car and go into the office in the morning I have to hold my breath to avoid having to breathe the vile fag effluent pumped into the atmosphere by tobacco abusers lurking around the concourse. Only an outright ban on smoking in all public places will do the job, and that is what is needed….Tobacco abusers spread their filth far and wide, and Parliament has still to stop them doing this.”
    http://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-tobacco-control-21072.html
    don’t you find the insults, the contorted language, the arrogance and bullying are somehow wounding?
    I’ve been reading shit like this for three years, and the accumulative effect has been to change me, and not in a good way. I haven’t lost a leg or had half my face blown off, but I’ve lost my tolerance and self-confidence and any sense of proportion when it comes to matters smoking-related. It’s all harmful.
    But, YES! Our fortunes are changing. That realisation dawned the day the Mail published one of my comments. At last, the MSM awakes!
    Karen

  17. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm… I just posted an anonymous comment under the the previous post, and didn’t get asked for word verification.
    But under this thread I’m being asked for it. I wonder why. And it is hard to read.
    Frank

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm… I just posted an anonymous comment under the the previous post, and didn’t get asked for word verification.
    But under this thread I’m being asked for it. I wonder why. And it is hard to read.
    Frank

  19. Frank Davis says:

    I don’t know why there’s word verification. The privacy settings for CAPTCHAs (anti-spam images) are set to the “nobody” option. So nobody should get them.
    Frank

  20. Frank Davis says:

    I don’t know why there’s word verification. The privacy settings for CAPTCHAs (anti-spam images) are set to the “nobody” option. So nobody should get them.
    Frank

  21. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Honesty
    He believes that there is now no authority of editorial control over content.
    ‘Control’ seems to be what they’re all about. They want to control the message. They even want to control people who comment on the message. In the past they could pick and choose which readers’ letters they’d publish. They couldn’t publish them all, because there wasn’t enough paper. But in the internet era paper has been abolished, and there’s no need to restrict comments (which are reader’s letters). But they still want to control them. Because the MSM is all about sending carefully crafted messages to a lot of people.
    But on my blog I’m not trying to send a message. I’m engaging in a dialogue, a conversation. And I never try to control conversations. I let them happen.
    The MSM are not conversational. They don’t really want to hear what their readers think. They want to tell their readers what to think. They don’t mind if a few readers write back and praise them. But they really don’t want to publish people who disagree. Because it ‘sends the wrong message’. And so lots of newspapers won’t publish comments they don’t like.
    I think this is something the MSM has a hard time getting its collective head around. They’re used to the old days when they had total control. They don’t like it one bit when they no longer have it.
    Frank

  22. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Honesty
    He believes that there is now no authority of editorial control over content.
    ‘Control’ seems to be what they’re all about. They want to control the message. They even want to control people who comment on the message. In the past they could pick and choose which readers’ letters they’d publish. They couldn’t publish them all, because there wasn’t enough paper. But in the internet era paper has been abolished, and there’s no need to restrict comments (which are reader’s letters). But they still want to control them. Because the MSM is all about sending carefully crafted messages to a lot of people.
    But on my blog I’m not trying to send a message. I’m engaging in a dialogue, a conversation. And I never try to control conversations. I let them happen.
    The MSM are not conversational. They don’t really want to hear what their readers think. They want to tell their readers what to think. They don’t mind if a few readers write back and praise them. But they really don’t want to publish people who disagree. Because it ‘sends the wrong message’. And so lots of newspapers won’t publish comments they don’t like.
    I think this is something the MSM has a hard time getting its collective head around. They’re used to the old days when they had total control. They don’t like it one bit when they no longer have it.
    Frank

  23. Anonymous says:

    “Amanda Sandford doesn’t blog. Deborah Arnott doesn’t blog.”
    Didn’t one of them try (or was it someone else?), but with heavily moderated comments (or maybe none at all) – so some clever soul simply reproduced the blog wholesale elsewhere, but with comments freely allowed? Needless to say, all the comments left resulted in the open publication of exactly the kind of opinions that the writer (whoever she was) didn’t want to have to confront. So, to my knowledge, the blog only ever comprised that one entry.
    This must surely be one of the best elements of the Internet – no matter how hard an Internet writer might try to maintain the MSM’s “no comeback” environment, on the Internet – somehow, some way – you have to be able (or at least prepared) to defend the views you air. And if you can’t (as clearly this person couldn’t or wouldn’t) then your blog, or your on-line article, or your on-line publication will simply wither on the vine.
    The Internet attracts a very different, and much more critical, readership than the MSM does, by virtue of this “open house” approach. Those who simply want to believe whatever they read so that they can have their already-held opinions reinforced are still buying the Guardian, or the Sun or the Telegraph every day. And, because ASH and the BMC and all their supporters fall into the latter category, they simply have no idea how the Internet works so differently. Hence their ham-fisted, and ultimately abortive, attempts to enter the blogosphere.

  24. Anonymous says:

    “Amanda Sandford doesn’t blog. Deborah Arnott doesn’t blog.”
    Didn’t one of them try (or was it someone else?), but with heavily moderated comments (or maybe none at all) – so some clever soul simply reproduced the blog wholesale elsewhere, but with comments freely allowed? Needless to say, all the comments left resulted in the open publication of exactly the kind of opinions that the writer (whoever she was) didn’t want to have to confront. So, to my knowledge, the blog only ever comprised that one entry.
    This must surely be one of the best elements of the Internet – no matter how hard an Internet writer might try to maintain the MSM’s “no comeback” environment, on the Internet – somehow, some way – you have to be able (or at least prepared) to defend the views you air. And if you can’t (as clearly this person couldn’t or wouldn’t) then your blog, or your on-line article, or your on-line publication will simply wither on the vine.
    The Internet attracts a very different, and much more critical, readership than the MSM does, by virtue of this “open house” approach. Those who simply want to believe whatever they read so that they can have their already-held opinions reinforced are still buying the Guardian, or the Sun or the Telegraph every day. And, because ASH and the BMC and all their supporters fall into the latter category, they simply have no idea how the Internet works so differently. Hence their ham-fisted, and ultimately abortive, attempts to enter the blogosphere.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Great post, FD, one I would have loved to write.
    There are a couple of points to add.
    The first is that in the main most bloggers are amateurs with a great deal of anger, on the other side are a mass of vested interests. The EU, Global Warming, immigration, etc. It’s the humble blogger who has provided a resistance to an authoritarian led and supine press.
    I also wonder what the people in charge have got away with in the past without the scrutiny of the Internet community. The anti-authority libertarian nature of the blogosphere, although seemingly anarchic, is a perfect tool in highlighting the fact that we are all individuals, and should all be free and equal. They are entitled to know what is going on.
    The last point to make is that the blogosphere is, in a way, self-moderated by the openness of the comments system. Blogs that don’t allow comments are not worth reading, besides, they can be taken apart by other blogs if necessary.
    Oh, and anon, 2010-09-12, 09:33am
    “When I park my car and go into the office in the morning I have to hold my breath to avoid having to breathe the vile fag effluent pumped into the atmosphere by tobacco abusers lurking around the concourse.”
    I’m glad the poor old thing is immune from the vile car exhaust effluent pumped into the atmosphere. Hypocrites!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Great post, FD, one I would have loved to write.
    There are a couple of points to add.
    The first is that in the main most bloggers are amateurs with a great deal of anger, on the other side are a mass of vested interests. The EU, Global Warming, immigration, etc. It’s the humble blogger who has provided a resistance to an authoritarian led and supine press.
    I also wonder what the people in charge have got away with in the past without the scrutiny of the Internet community. The anti-authority libertarian nature of the blogosphere, although seemingly anarchic, is a perfect tool in highlighting the fact that we are all individuals, and should all be free and equal. They are entitled to know what is going on.
    The last point to make is that the blogosphere is, in a way, self-moderated by the openness of the comments system. Blogs that don’t allow comments are not worth reading, besides, they can be taken apart by other blogs if necessary.
    Oh, and anon, 2010-09-12, 09:33am
    “When I park my car and go into the office in the morning I have to hold my breath to avoid having to breathe the vile fag effluent pumped into the atmosphere by tobacco abusers lurking around the concourse.”
    I’m glad the poor old thing is immune from the vile car exhaust effluent pumped into the atmosphere. Hypocrites!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Ranty says…
    Thanks Frank.
    Despite my military background, it is/was impossible not to couch my piece in those terms.
    Make no mistake: we are engaged.
    The root of the problem is the same as it ever was. Money, power, greed. Those are the only motivators the bullies in charge need. It has sustained them for centuries and now, finally, we are having an effect. We do them great damage. They wince, and they smart, and they bleed, just like we do. They are no different to you and I in that respect. Their brains are wired differently. They are, as we have discovered, psychopathic. (To do what they do, they pretty much have to be).
    They do not empathise. They do not feel our pain. They can not, will not, sympathise. They slip on those jackboots with a geat sigh of pleasure every morning. And when they return home at night, they rinse off the blood and get themselves ready to do it all over again the next day. And the next day, and the next day.
    They are lost. They are addicted to the power, and to the money.
    Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to wean them off our money. It is more simple than you could imagine. Try it. The next time a brown envelope slips through your door, ask them to prove that you owe whatever it is they are demanding. They stutter and they stammer, they bluster and they blackmail. Mostly though, they struggle to tell you the truth. It is also great fun.
    CR.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Ranty says…
    Thanks Frank.
    Despite my military background, it is/was impossible not to couch my piece in those terms.
    Make no mistake: we are engaged.
    The root of the problem is the same as it ever was. Money, power, greed. Those are the only motivators the bullies in charge need. It has sustained them for centuries and now, finally, we are having an effect. We do them great damage. They wince, and they smart, and they bleed, just like we do. They are no different to you and I in that respect. Their brains are wired differently. They are, as we have discovered, psychopathic. (To do what they do, they pretty much have to be).
    They do not empathise. They do not feel our pain. They can not, will not, sympathise. They slip on those jackboots with a geat sigh of pleasure every morning. And when they return home at night, they rinse off the blood and get themselves ready to do it all over again the next day. And the next day, and the next day.
    They are lost. They are addicted to the power, and to the money.
    Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to wean them off our money. It is more simple than you could imagine. Try it. The next time a brown envelope slips through your door, ask them to prove that you owe whatever it is they are demanding. They stutter and they stammer, they bluster and they blackmail. Mostly though, they struggle to tell you the truth. It is also great fun.
    CR.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Terrific article.
    Not many youngsters buy newspapers today and sales are falling.
    The las thing that they want to watch on the t.v. is the news anad radios are almost obsolete with the younger people.
    So the internet is becoming their source of ‘news’.
    They will be the ones in the future that hopefully will see the truth of matters and not the propaganda in the MSM

  30. Anonymous says:

    Terrific article.
    Not many youngsters buy newspapers today and sales are falling.
    The las thing that they want to watch on the t.v. is the news anad radios are almost obsolete with the younger people.
    So the internet is becoming their source of ‘news’.
    They will be the ones in the future that hopefully will see the truth of matters and not the propaganda in the MSM

  31. Anonymous says:

    Apologies to the commenter who dislikes the analogy, but it does work exceptionally well in this instance. In many ways, the anti-smoking movement have become just like a military force which has been so successful that they just don’t believe they actually have to do anything any more apart from make their presence felt for everyone to obediently fall into line.
    But it’s an artificial success, although they still won’t recognise it – they’ve stormed into a country, aided and abetted by its own Government and thus meeting no real resistance, taken control of the lives of the population and, because of the constant ego-massaging by the combined forces of the ruling elite and their own leaders, the soldiers now don’t see any need to do anything except sit around playing cards and drinking coffee and barking orders at the civilians. Why put themselves at risk by seeking out dissenters or underground movements when their leaders have told them that there aren’t any and that the population are delighted to have them around?
    So they’ve got fat and lazy; many of them have left the army altogether because “the battle is won” and there’s nothing to do any more; and the leaders – believing their own hype and the reassurances of their allies within the country’s government – simply never made any plans for long-term maintenance of their position, because they never believed they’d need to. I won’t invoke Godwin’s Law here, because it’s simply too obvious, but countless real wars (and other attempts at social control) have been lost for exactly these reasons – arrogance, a total refusal to consider any uncomfortable realities and wilful misjudgement on behalf of the movement’s leaders. The principle is exactly the same – only the methods differ.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Apologies to the commenter who dislikes the analogy, but it does work exceptionally well in this instance. In many ways, the anti-smoking movement have become just like a military force which has been so successful that they just don’t believe they actually have to do anything any more apart from make their presence felt for everyone to obediently fall into line.
    But it’s an artificial success, although they still won’t recognise it – they’ve stormed into a country, aided and abetted by its own Government and thus meeting no real resistance, taken control of the lives of the population and, because of the constant ego-massaging by the combined forces of the ruling elite and their own leaders, the soldiers now don’t see any need to do anything except sit around playing cards and drinking coffee and barking orders at the civilians. Why put themselves at risk by seeking out dissenters or underground movements when their leaders have told them that there aren’t any and that the population are delighted to have them around?
    So they’ve got fat and lazy; many of them have left the army altogether because “the battle is won” and there’s nothing to do any more; and the leaders – believing their own hype and the reassurances of their allies within the country’s government – simply never made any plans for long-term maintenance of their position, because they never believed they’d need to. I won’t invoke Godwin’s Law here, because it’s simply too obvious, but countless real wars (and other attempts at social control) have been lost for exactly these reasons – arrogance, a total refusal to consider any uncomfortable realities and wilful misjudgement on behalf of the movement’s leaders. The principle is exactly the same – only the methods differ.

  33. Frank Davis says:

    Didn’t one of them try (or was it someone else?), but with heavily moderated comments (or maybe none at all) – so some clever soul simply reproduced the blog wholesale elsewhere, but with comments freely allowed?
    Yes. And I can’t remember who it was. Although I wrote about it. It wasn’t Arnott. I don’t think it was Sandford either.
    Frank

  34. Frank Davis says:

    Didn’t one of them try (or was it someone else?), but with heavily moderated comments (or maybe none at all) – so some clever soul simply reproduced the blog wholesale elsewhere, but with comments freely allowed?
    Yes. And I can’t remember who it was. Although I wrote about it. It wasn’t Arnott. I don’t think it was Sandford either.
    Frank

  35. timbone59 says:

    Shiela Duffy ASH Scotland has started a blog. Here is the original http://sheilaashscotland.wordpress.com/ and here is the ‘mirror blog’ with comments allowed http://sheilaashscotland.blogspot.com/2010/07/tobacco-industry-use-their-vast-profits.html#comments

  36. timbone59 says:

    Shiela Duffy ASH Scotland has started a blog. Here is the original http://sheilaashscotland.wordpress.com/ and here is the ‘mirror blog’ with comments allowed http://sheilaashscotland.blogspot.com/2010/07/tobacco-industry-use-their-vast-profits.html#comments

  37. Frank Davis says:

    Yes. That’s the one!
    Frank

  38. Frank Davis says:

    Yes. That’s the one!
    Frank

  39. Anonymous says:

    It’s the Scottish ASH woman, Sheila Duffy
    http://sheilaashscotland.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/22/

  40. Anonymous says:

    It’s the Scottish ASH woman, Sheila Duffy
    http://sheilaashscotland.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/22/

  41. Anonymous says:

    Showers
    An anti-smoker I know says she hasn’t had a shower sice July 2007 . . . . .

  42. Anonymous says:

    Showers
    An anti-smoker I know says she hasn’t had a shower sice July 2007 . . . . .

  43. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Showers
    She must pong a bit. Although not of tobacco.
    Frank

  44. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Showers
    She must pong a bit. Although not of tobacco.
    Frank

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