Friday, September 06, 2013

Give A Man A Mask And He Will Tell You The Truth -- aka -- 'The Fifth Estate'

The quote by Oscar Wilde is: "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth."

If journalism is The Fourth Estate then, yes, online writing, where bloggers say what they want, publish any information or opinion they see fit, all without being accountable to any regulatory entity or held to a professional standard, is The Fifth Estate.

While much blogging is rambling or ranting or simply irresponsible gibberish, it can be argued that much of what we read in newspapers, on major news websites or television networks, is colored, if not tainted, by some slant or another, by some political association, or by some executive (corporate or otherwise) or editor whose concern is not, strictly speaking, centered on finding and reporting the truth. 

If the conventional journalist is constrained by professional politesse or fear of losing their job (or even being prosecuted and jailed), then can we fully trust him or her? Is it not, in many cases, the non-professional writer, the blogger, who is most honest, least afraid to voice an opinion?

Have we arrived at a time when it's no longer traditional journalism, major newspapers, networks, and websites, which keep puppet masters on their toes? Perhaps that task has been taken up by the lowly blogger, often untrained and perhaps fairly called a hobbyist who doodles in their spare time, anonymous and (yes) masked, who publishes, usually irresponsibly, without concern for repercussions, on the internet, discussion boards, and social sites.

Does it take a hacker, a fearless publisher (whose identity often remains secret), to remind us of what is really happening?

When it comes to informing the public of what the powers that be would rather remain unknown, it may have, in the last decades, become necessary to depend on masked rogues to do the reporting. And, by doing so, is this person a criminal?

I like this featurette. The subject is perhaps too nuanced for normal trailers, which didn't do much for me. A more in depth examination sells the movie better. Really, I can't wait.

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