On Thursday, David Hazinski posted a column on the Web site of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
suggesting that "unfettered 'citizen journalism' (is) too risky." He points out that the online medium creates an opportunity for anyone to provide informational content, but that this new venue is prone to inaccuracies and hearsay. He argues that so-called citizen journalism "isn't journalism at all, and it opens up information flow to the strong probability of fraud and abuse."
In his article, Hazinski suggests that unless the news industry acts now to regulate amateur-professional journalism, it will be "just a matter of time before something like a faked Rodney King beating video appears on the air somewhere." In his defense, a similar scenario did play out over three years ago when Benjamin Vanderford, a San Francisco resident, produced a fake video depicting his own beheading at the hands of Islamist extremists
; then again, it was a publisher from the establishment press, William Randolph Hearst, who is credited with helping catalyze the Spanish American War through manufactured news. Hearst told a reporter, "You furnish the pictures, I'll furnish the war,"
and history indicates that he may have done just that.
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