Gosh, citizen journalism is awesome, says ... Dan Rather

Yeah. What a nifty tool for exposing the lies of state media.

Wait, he’s talking about Iran, isn’t he?

Despite the surface similarities, this is not Tiananmen in 1989. The Christian Science Monitor references the equation, seen on blogs such as Read Write Web, that “Tiananmen + Twitter = Tehran.” The proliferation of information technology and the phenomenon of citizen journalism have made it much harder now to turn the lights out than it was two decades ago. Oral history once kept alive for generations the stories unsanctioned by official propaganda; now social-networking tools have the power to spread the people’s story around the world, instantly.

It is too soon to know or to say how the situation in Iran will turn out, but there are lessons in this for our own country, for a democratic system more fragile than we at times like to believe. One of these lessons is the centrality of freedom of the press to the entire enterprise of democratic government: You cannot have one without the other. And the other is the lesson that citizen journalism is a way for the people to hold on to freedom of the press, even in times of oppression. In a turn of phrase that seems to be cropping up everywhere, the revolution may not be televised…but it very well could be Twittered.


Real Clear Politics has video of him from MSNBC this afternoon explaining that Ahmadinejad’s purely a figurehead (wrong) and that the mullahs are the true power inside the country (wrong). Instead of embedding that, here’s something slightly more substantive: Jon Stewart goofing on Twittermania and the new Rather-esque standard of journalism that it’s creating. The IRGC isn’t laughing.

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Irandecision 2009 – CNN’s Unverified Material
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Political Humor Jason Jones in Iran

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