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Thursday, July 7, 2011


Our judicial system, sad to say, simply doesn't work, as illustrated by the Casey Anthony tragic case. There is however no better option, unless we give access to quality defense lawyers to every person accused of a crime, irrespective of their financial condition. We could do it by applying the enormous sums of money misspent in foreign wars; imagine how much help we could give destitute people with a trillion dollars already wasted.
While I keep wondering why this little girl's death has drawn so much attention by the media over the last 2 years, my focus today points toward the ever changing role and importance of mass media. True, modern technology allows everybody to keep abreast of the latest news instantly; from the laptop to the smart phone, from traditional means to modern blogs, one can be informed on every topic. That's the beauty of the Internet where the past and the present meet every second of every day. The Web never sleeps and, according to some studies, neither do many teens and adults (O.K., they do sleep a couple of hours).
How is this modern explosion of data changing our society, our world? As in the above criminal trial of Casey Anthony, I suspect that the daily coverage and histrionics of some commentators helped form a sinister image of this young mother. Was the jury influenced by the media in spite of the judge's orders not to read on the subject? Of course they were; after so many months, they could not help being bombarded by opinions on the Net, on TV or on the radio. By the same token, many accused people are "prejudged" by the media, thus strengthening existing prejudices among those who eventually will decide their fate. I am not excluding judges from the media's influence; they are humans as well.
On the good side, the multiple tools created on the Internet, whether Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, e-mails, and of course blogs, have all contributed significantly to the spread of democracy. The Arab Spring is in full bloom, as the masses in these countries can witness the freedom and prosperity enjoyed in the West through their own Internet tools. Tyrants and dictators have in vain tried to block the data. Pictures and videos from cell phones continue to reveal the horrors committed by these totalitarian regimes. More powerful than bullets and tanks, political blogs in Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia and Libia have demonstrated to their rulers that the truth cannot be hidden or killed.
As usual, whenever a new tool is created, some people will try to use it to their own advantage; there are however so many pros to the Internet that the cons are simply not able to compete. We will become a better society, a more informed society , and a society better able to separate the good from the bad. I am all in favor of technological progress, but, as Thomas Jefferson wisely stated:"I never submitted the whole of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself".

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