Our favourite old media dinosaur worthy of regular mockery, Piers Akerman, was one of the last of the News Limited stable of opinionists to allow his columns to go online in blog form.
He resisted, we were told, because he didn't want to have to engage with readers, or to allow his work to be publicly criticised.Akerman lost that battle, as New Limited boss Rupert Murdoch made it clear that all his opinionists would eventually have to become bloggers, because blogs were the future of News Limited and a source of online ad revenue.
Of course, now that Akerman's Daily Telegraph columns go up on the website in blog form, nearly every paragraph he writes results in readers enthusiastically criticising his fawning, ceaseless pro-John Howard bias and correcting his many, sometimes purposeful, errors of fact and distortions of history.
Considering that prime minister John Howard has now posted a short, two minute spiel on YouTube about how he has been fighting climate change for 17 years (he doesn't even blink), and all the headlines his dipping into new media politics generated, it was time for "One of the nation’s most respected journalists" (as his own website calls TheAk) to take a closer look at this whole Tubing phenomenon.
Because The Ak is "One of the nation's most respected journalists", he naturally spent a great deal of time studying the rich and varied content ofYouTube and divining its worth and impact as a medium of discourse and information and a potential tool and forum for political debate and impact.
The Ak summed up YouTube as being :
hardly the platform for a person of any stature or maturity to deliver messages of any substance...a site for sad and sick eyes.The Ak knows this because of his deep, probing investigation of all that YouTube has to offer :
Take the videos which were listed as most viewed yesterday.He doesn't appear to have looked beyond the front page of the YouTube site. Now that's research.
Had The Ak looked a little closer, he would have seen the YouTube search engine, where people with even his limited online research skills can find messages of substance from a century of filmed andvideod speeches and lectures.
Here's what we found in just five minutes of entering the names of people expected to have delivered messages of substance into the search box :
Martin Luther King on 'I Have A Dream'
Robert Menzies on 'Why I Had To Retire'
Michael Crichton on Global Warming
Carl Sagan on the Library Of Alexandria
Stephen Hawking on The Origin Of The Universe
Winston Churchill on 'Their Finest Hour'
Niall Ferguson on The Wall Street Crash
Every time The Ak writes about the internet, and the growing range of tools - like YouTube - that are already becoming indispensable to writers, researchers, historians and journalists, he makes an idiot of himself. It's like reading a non-driver writing about cars.
What's worse, The Ak doesn't seem to comprehend that he is now a blogger, or blog writer.
Witness his latest screed against the new media tool that his own boss, Rupert Murdoch, believes is the future of news, and News Limited :
Fantastic. The Ak clearly isn't aware that he is referring to himself.
...the now ubiquitous blogs with their legions of ill-informed, hate-filled obsessives.
It's interesting to note that since we last wrote about Akerman's all but non-existent interaction with readers on his Daily Telegraph blog, he has suddenly become more engaged, replying to more than half a dozen reader comments in a recent rant about why John Howard is still mega (something about where he buys his suits).
But it's clear from his tone and words that it is not something The Ak enjoys doing.
Like many of the fatted cows of his aged generation of opinion writers, Akerman pines for the days when his columns in the printed newspapers were the last word. There'd be letters to the editor about what he'd written the week or day before, but he could always laugh as he screwed them up and aimed them at the bin.
Now The Ak has been reduced to having to defend his opinions, his facts and his bias almost every time a new column goes up on his blog.
No wonder he hates YouTube so much. Too much like real freedom of speech, right of reply and active democracy.
The Last Online Stand Of Piers Akerman