“Propaganda is a concerted set of messages aimed at influencing the opinions or behavior of large numbers of people. Instead of impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense presents information in order to influence its audience”. I’ve spent some time doing research this month, and over the summer, and realized that the propaganda machine is alive and well on the web. It is the wild west of information and media manipulation, casting a shadow over the unlearned and untrained eye of the receiver. With blogs and new sites, allowing interactivity we can all become victims. One unfortunately victim is the website, democraticspace.com. It was probably the best site to get objective information about clients, in Ontario (dare I say Canada) and probably still is. However, it seems that there is a major problem with the “comments” section, for each candidate. What is interesting is how people use the comments section to spread false information and lies about various candidates. We are a democratic country and we still have freedom of speech, however media impression is still a tool used to defame an aspiring candidate’s reputation. One of the reasons this happens is because search engines, like Google and Yahoo, use tags and keyword information. If someone spreads enough bad information about a candidate, then as voters do their research they may actually see the rants and ravings of the commentary. To many the web is still a new thing and they may believe everything they see. At present all we can do is try to filter and present truthful information, hoping the receiver of that information will be able to correctly know what the truth actually is. Albeit, demrocraticspace.com officials may have truthful information, controlling who posts comments can be a challenge. What is unfortunate is that this offers political parties a free way to destroy another person’s character. The Internet is the wild west of media manipulation and we will need to find new ways to make sure its integrity is not destroyed. This will be a long process, and who knows how it will be achieved. In the interim, we the voters need to be diligent and informed. Right now, the web is the equal to a tabloid newspaper or Fox News (sorry Fox – but some of the stuff you talk about…). I am impressed with democraticspace.com and they are trying. Recently the veil was lifted as they revealed that the same person was posting comments from the same machine, under different names and alias’s.
“in the interests of transparency…Malik, Naim_Malik, albert_chang, sue_sung, jacckie, josh_siato and John Lee are all posting from the same IP address. Comment/commentaire by democraticspace 10.02.07 @ 5:15 am”
Knowing this now and the previous posts, in reference to the destruction of lawn signs, the obvious intension was to destroy the reputation of the PC candidate – Alex Yuan. Seems that either some Liberal or maybe NDP supporters (hard to tell – but I doubt they were really NDP’ers?) were trying to gain “brownie points” in the riding. It is strange that there is so much commentary for this riding, but a website like this should not be used to spread misleading information, increasing the likelihood of someone searching on a candidate and getting the wrong impression. It’s great to see that democracticspace.com is doing their utmost best preserve the integrity of the site; making sure that information is factual, not hearsay. In the media sometimes you have to read through the cues and wordings of a commentator. Do they have an agenda? What opinion are they pushing or supporting? Just like a call in radio show, the host will challenge any opinion presented over the airwaves. This is so people do not get false information and make an incorrect judgment about the issue. In the end maybe we will come up with better technology, with the ability to challenge the commentary of posts. A good example is Steve Munro of www.stevemunro.ca , who does his best to challenge and moderate the comments of other posts. I hope in the future democraticspace.com does more to challenge comments. They are still the best site for candidate information on the web at present (especially for the G.T.A), so they will need to be the best site they can be.
By: Adrian P
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
We appreciate you writing this post. It is indeed a delicate balance between allowing free speech and tolerating abuse. Continued abuse by the aforementioned person has forced us to remove all of his/her comments. He have posted the following comment in the respective ridings:
“It is with the greatest regret that we are forced to remove all comments by Malik, Naim_Malik, albert_chang, sue_sung, jackkie, josh_siato, John Lee, Josephine, Mark, Robert, and Chester_Rochard in the comments sections of the ridings of Thornhill, Richmond Hill, Willowdale, and Don Valley West. These are all from the same person. We consider this a blatant attempt to subvert genuine debate by fabricating multiple identities in an attempt to amplify their voice and creating the impression of consensus. We are committed to free speech, but such abuse will not be tolerated on DemocraticSPACE. We hope our readers will understand our position.”
Further to this point. We have warned all campaigns that this kind of abuse will not be tolerated. See http://democraticSPACE.com/blog/2007/10/warning-abuse-will-not-be-tolerated/
Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.