Welcome David M. Hoffman (CitizensRising) (Internews.org), and Host Robert W. Fuller (RobertWorkFuller.com) (BreakingRanks)

Citizens Rising: Independent Journalism and the Spread of Democracy

From the Arab Spring to Afghanistan, the media takes center stage in Citizens Rising: Independent Media and the Spread of Democracy, a new book reflecting decades of experience at the front lines of social change, from the perspective of independent journalists and activists working to revolutionize information. This is the first book to recount the story of the media activists who helped transform contemporary history with consequences that will continue to reverberate into our future.

The shift from media controlled by a few, to media owned by all of us portends a revolution as great as that which followed the invention of the printing press,

says author David Hoffman. Hoffman is an expert on international media and co-founder of Internews, a global non-profit organization that has supported the emergence of independent news media and information technology in more than ninety countries.

From the fall of the Soviet Union to the Arab Spring, media have played a decisive role in political affairs across the globe. It is only since the rise of social media, however, that journalists, historians and policymakers have begun to recognize how media activists have been behind many of the revolutionary changes shaping our recent past. This is the first book to present a comprehensive look at the emergence of media as a primary actor, and not just an observer, of global affairs.

In these pages we will see how media have been used effectively to topple dictatorships, prevent conflict and develop civil society; how they help build a nation after a war, as in Afghanistan; or lead to genocide, as in Rwanda. Media have the power to bring about massive social change, such as improving the status of women, or act as first responders in humanitarian emergencies as in Haiti, Somalia or Darfur where information is as vital as food, water and shelter.

Today, the Internet, mobile phones and social media are transforming politics and society more profoundly and more rapidly than anyone ever could have predicted. China, with 500 million people online, is a vastly different country than it was just a decade ago. With the rise of digital technology the power of media to intervene in global affairs is in the hands of everyone, everywhere, transforming us from passive spectators to lead actors on the stage of world events. This book is the first one to examine media’s historic impact and offer a roadmap to the future.

As the founder of Internews, the largest non-governmental media development organization in the world, I had a backstage pass to many of the seminal events described in the chapters that follow. Most of the leaders and activists profiled in the book are trusted colleagues or close friends with whom I’ve worked for over three decades. Some reveal confidences never before shared. Together their stories demonstrate how the information revolution is transforming our politics and our destiny.

David Hoffman is President Emeritus and Founder of Internews Network, a global non-profit organization that fosters independent media and access to information worldwide. The organization has helped build thousands of television and radio stations in some of the most difficult environments in the world that reach hundreds of millions of people.  Hoffman has written widely about media and democracy, the Internet, and the importance of supporting pluralistic, local media around the world. His articles and op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The International Herald Tribune, and The San Francisco Chronicle. He has also testified before U.S. House and Senate committees on issues of press freedom and access to information.

Hoffman was project director of the internationally-acclaimed and Emmy-award winning television series Capital to Capital (1987-1990), produced in association with ABC News and Soviet State Television; he organized broadcasts of the War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, for which Internews was awarded the first European Commission’s ECHO Award in 1996. Hoffman was a founder of and serves as Chairman Emeritus of the Global Forum for Media Development, a cross-sector initiative of more than 500 leading media assistance organizations from over 100 countries. From 1980-1982, he was the editor of Evolutionary Blues, a journal of political thought on international conflict, the threat of nuclear war, and U.S.-Soviet relations. Prior to that, he was National Director of Survival Summer, the coalition of 140 national peace and environmental organizations that launched the peace movement of the 1980s.  Hoffman has a BA in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University and has completed doctoral work at the University of Colorado in the Social and Intellectual History of the United States.

 

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

86 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes David M. Hoffman, Citizens Rising: Independent Journalism and the Spread of Democracy”

BevW December 21st, 2013 at 1:53 pm

David, Welcome to the Lake.

Robert, Welcome back to the Lake, and thank you for Hosting today’s salon.


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David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Thank you Bev and thank you Bob for agreeing to host this discussion.

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Hi Everyone. We’ve got a rare thing today: an activist who followed his dreams and changed the world. He’s here to tell us how.

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 2:00 pm

David, Why not begin by telling us why you wrote Citizens Rising?

dakine01 December 21st, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Good afternoon David and Robert and welcome to Firedoglake this afternoon.

David, I have not had an opportunity to read your book so forgive me if you address this in there but how do you see the future of indy journalism when the various governments do their utmost to block use of the internet or individual police departments arrest people who film their actions even when the courts have ruled that is a protected action

eCAHNomics December 21st, 2013 at 2:05 pm

What is the best indie websites on

1. International, or foreign affairs, or geopolitics
2. International economics
3. Domestic economics

How do the ones you single out get funded?

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:06 pm

There’s a constant struggle between indy journalists and governments, particularly repressive ones. But I would argue that the independent journalists have been winning. Not always, as in Iran in 2009. But on balance, more people are getting more information all the time and indy journalists are the reason.

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 2:06 pm

What’s message do you want readers to take away?

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Let me respond to Bob’s question first.Personally, I love telling stories. I’ve long enjoyed the New Yorker’s style of recounting the personal stories of the people behind the issue or event. I wanted to tell the amazing stories of some of the remarkable people I’ve known who have played leading roles in the transformation of their countries.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:07 pm
In response to robertwfuller @ 4

Personally, I love telling stories. I’ve long enjoyed the New Yorker’s style of recounting the personal stories of the people behind the issue or event. I wanted to tell the amazing stories of some of the remarkable people I’ve known who have played leading roles in the transformation of their countries.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:09 pm
In response to robertwfuller @ 8

Everyone knows that media is important and yet historians and policymakers have largely missed the role that media activists have played in the most important events of our lifetimes. I wrote this book especially to make policymaker more aware of the value of supporting independent media.

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 2:09 pm

What’s message do you want readers to take away from the stories in your book?

dakine01 December 21st, 2013 at 2:09 pm
In response to David Hoffman @ 7

As a technical note, there is a “Reply” button in the lower right hand of each comment. Clicking the “Reply” will pre-fill the commenter name and comment number being replied to and makes it easier for folks to follow the conversation.

Note: some browsers do not like to let the Reply function correctly if it is pressed after a hard page refresh but before the page completes loading

eCAHNomics December 21st, 2013 at 2:10 pm
In response to David Hoffman @ 11

policymaker more aware of the value of supporting independent media

That would be the death of indie media.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:11 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 6

Interestingly, I find that the best websites for politics and economics tend to be associated with old media, e.g. Foreign Affairs, Foreign policy, NY Times. Of course they have more resources. But more and more sites are getting creative about funding, especially crowd sourced funding.

dakine01 December 21st, 2013 at 2:12 pm
In response to David Hoffman @ 7

Don’t the indy journalists though wind up being treated in many cases in the same fashion as whistle-blowers? That is, they get prosecuted for bringing information to the rest of us the government(s) would prefer to be kept quiet?

RevBev December 21st, 2013 at 2:12 pm
In response to David Hoffman @ 15

What is the implication/danger for whistle blowers since there seems to be more repression?

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:13 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 14

After the Color Revolutions, leaders of undemocratic countries certainly woke up to the threat posed by independent journalists. i discuss this in my book. For some years there was increased repression and indy media retreated. But there was again a big wave of independent journalism after that…e.g. Arab Spring. I meant Western policymakers who are by far the greatest support for nay media.

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 2:14 pm

There are a lot of pundits who argue that we’ve exaggerated the effect of social media in the Arab Spring. What do you say?

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:16 pm
In response to RevBev @ 17

Whistle blowers everywhere face threats from their governments, the US certainly among them. This on’t go away. But think what would happen if we didn’t have independent media to get their messages out (e.g. Ellsberg and now Snowden)

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:17 pm
In response to robertwfuller @ 19

The Arab Spring finally got observers to recognize the importance of the new media in social change, but media activists have been at the forefront of political and social change for decades before that. The media’s role in the fall of the Soviet Union and the revolutions against Communist rule in Eastern Europe have largely gone unnoticed, yet media activists led the change there. The war in the Balkans was a media war before it became a shooting war. The revolution against Musharraf was really a media revolution.

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 2:18 pm

How did the media get its audience to take risks that they ordinarily wouldn’t take? Obviously there must be underlying grievances that have festered for a long time. What’s the spark that media provides?

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:18 pm
In response to robertwfuller @ 19

Actually, I think the western press has never fully appreciated the role of media activists in the Arab Spring. There were cute comments about the “Facebook Revolution,” but few journalists dug deeper to tell the stories of the activists who had prepared for years for this.

eCAHNomics December 21st, 2013 at 2:19 pm

NYT is as unbiased as NPR (National Pentagon Radio).

Have you no memory of Judith Miller, the designated W admin leaker for Iraq WMDs who was then wurlitzered into Rice’s mushroom cloud? Hard to find a less independent example than that.

WRT crowd source funding, have you checked the data? For example, Goodman has annual budget of $6.5 million. That would be 260,000 $25 donations.

OR, as is widely rumored (Goodman won’t answer direct Qs, and her big donors are hidden behind layers of NGOs, aka govt sponsored propagandists), Soros or Ford Foundation.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:20 pm
In response to robertwfuller @ 22

Often it’s the Groupon effect. When two hundred thousand people “like” a Facebook page that calls for people to demonstrate, they know they are not alone. Sometimes everyone may know something but there’s a taboo against talking about it. For example, everyone knew of the corruption and obscene consumption of Ben Ali, Tunisia’s dictator and his wife. But when Nawaat, an online media activist group, published Wikileaks files from the American Ambassador describing these crimes, ordinary people felt some validation. The Emperor has no clothes.

eCAHNomics December 21st, 2013 at 2:21 pm
In response to David Hoffman @ 18

Color, seasonal, flower revolutions are creations of Nye, Sharp. Nothing to do with indie media, except that Nye & Sharp manipulate gullibles to destabilize countries.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:21 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 16

yes, they do.

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 2:21 pm

In Citizens Rising, you talk about the role of “shame” in fomenting uprisings. Can you give some examples?

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:23 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 26

you are so wrong. First of all Nye mostly missed the role of media as a soft power factor, though he has made up for that recently.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:24 pm
In response to robertwfuller @ 28

If you look at the Arab Spring revolts in Tunisia or Egypt, or the overthrow of General Musharraf in Pakistan, they each began with the personal humiliation of an individual which got broadcast by the media and touched the collective shame of a nation. In Tunisia it was the self-immolation of a fruit vendor who had been slapped around by a policewoman after she confiscated his cart. In Egypt it was the brutal beating to death of a young man, Khaled Said, in Alexandria. In Pakistan, it was Musharraf’s firing and humiliation of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Each of these individual indignities resonated with people who had all experienced such humiliation but felt ashamed by their impotence. People hate corruption and the impunity of police forces, but they are usually powerless to act against it. Marx once said “Shame is a kind of anger which is turned inward. And if a whole nation really experienced a sense of shame, it would be like a lion, crouching ready to spring.”

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:25 pm
In response to robertwfuller @ 28

By the way, does shame ever figure in your amazing novel, The Rowan Tree?

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:27 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 24

I think you and I have different values. I love NPR and I love the NYTimes, though they definitely should be faulted for Judith Miller, withholding news about warantless surveillance and much else. But they’re still better than most other newspapers.

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 2:28 pm
In response to David Hoffman @ 31

Indirectly. But the main point is to show how we can change the meaning of MAD from “Mutually Assured Destruction” to “Mutually Assured Dignity.” This is not the place to elaborate, but this website does: http://www.rowantreenovel.com/

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Thanks.

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 2:32 pm

You built Internews in Arcata, CA, not in NYC or DC where most NGOs grow big. Can you say something about the pros and cons of that?

BevW December 21st, 2013 at 2:33 pm

David, You have worked in 90 countries with media, can you describe some examples of how citizen journalists / social media is quietly, slowly making a difference for local communities, women, etc. Not every news article is a revolution in the making, but can move the dialog forward.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:37 pm

A lot less time wasted shmoozing. You can get a lot more done, especially any creative thinking, when you’re in an environment like Arcata. On the other hand, DC and NY are where the money is. The fact that Internews had both centers helped us both stay more creative and still master the DC bureaucracy. I worry though that the gravity of DC will inevitably pull Internews in the direction of being more of a “beltway bandit.” But so far, the culture remains very creative and able to take risks. Its center for Innovation is really breaking new ground. For me, personally, I would have suffocated had I had to live all the time in DC. I love to visit there though.

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 2:40 pm
In response to David Hoffman @ 37

Makes sense to me. Looking ahead, you’ve been on the front lines for change for 3 decades. Aren’t you tired? What are you going to do now?

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:40 pm
In response to BevW @ 36

In Afghanistan, we’ve helped build five women-owned and managed radio stations. I remember what happened in Indonesia, after Sukharno was overthrown. A woman started a radio program by and for women, despite enormous ridicule and pressure not to, and it immediately got the highest ratings in the country. I’d love to see a study of how women’s use of social media (they are big users) is changing values in small communities. It must be.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Hopefully, it will be something more creative. The biggest impediment to change is success. I’ve been very lucky and Internews has been a big success. With failure, it’s easy to change. You have to. But success is a hard groove to get out of. Once all the lather whipping around my book settles down, I hope to get back to writing a novel I started, “The Messiah and His Lover.”

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:45 pm

What about you? You’ve written eight really important books. What are you working on now? What’s next?

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Internews will be a had act to follow. As institution-building goes, it’s very creative.

Stewart Brand, who created The Whole Earth Catalog as a young man, says (jokingly) that after the Catalog’s success he cast around for his next big thing and at one point asked God what it would be. God thought for awhile and then replied, “Sorry, that was it.”

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 2:49 pm
In response to David Hoffman @ 41

Just hoping that if I ask God what’s next, He won’t say “That was it.”

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Let your imagination roam on this one: How would it change the game if everyone on Earth, all 9 + billion of us, had smart phones? Because we will. Soon.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:52 pm

:) I’m content with what I’ve done. If that’s all I get to do, I am just grateful. That’s not some New Age nonsense, either. I both believe I’ve contributed my share to world peace (my mission) but also feel that there are other things that are equally important–like learning to love and be loved and learning to be more in awareness. (Now that does sound like New Age bull)

BevW December 21st, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Can you describe how North Korea is “managing” technology and social media? There are reports now that the citizens now have cell phones, this implies more mass communication.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I talk about this all the time. It’s only a matter of a couple years. That’s why I say that the Information Revolution is on a par with the last two great political revolutions, socialism and democracy. The Information Revolution will be the primary force for change for decades to come. It has already altered the course of history, overturned dictatorships, accelerated globalization, and given voice to the poorest of the poor. Information wealth is not a zero-sum game. The enrichment of others makes us all wealthier, while the hoarding of information circumscribes our inalienable right to share in human knowledge. The Information Revolution fulfills the promise of democracy that all are created equal, and the aspiration of socialism—from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs.
Today the news is no longer a spectator sport; the media are all of us. The stories described in my book are examples of what you call “psychotectonic shifts,” those seminal moments when an established social and psychological framework crumbles and a new moral reality takes its place. With the democratization of information, such shifts occur more often and spread more rapidly than ever before. Freedom begins with an awakening in human consciousness

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 3:00 pm
In response to BevW @ 46

I wish I knew more about this. Apparently, it is a big status symbol in N Korea to wear a thumb drive as a necklace. of course, that means the person is relatively rich and, ipso facto part of the ruling elite. As the economy in NK declined it became easier and cheaper to bribe the police and this resulted in a lot of technology coming in, particularly cassette recorders. If there are more cell phones now, they’d probably be useful near the borders with China and South Korea. If you find out more about this, please let me know.

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 3:01 pm

When Internews was created, the principal media were radio and TV. How has the role of Internews changed in the era of smart phones, tablets, and the Internet?

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 3:02 pm
In response to David Hoffman @ 47

Online education may be the next big revolution, despite the problems that EdX and Udacity have been having. Once they recognize that there needs to be local teachers or “information facilitators,” the ubiquity of smart phones will allow everyone to have access to the great teaching institutions of the world.

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Was Citizens Rising your first book? Was it fun stepping back and writing as opposed to competing with Hillary for most countries visited?

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Internews has made a big shift to the new media in virtually every project we do. But it’s important to remember that in the developing world, radio remains King. We’ve been able to improve radio production with digital technologies (everything from content management to more listener participation) but for now most people continue to get the majority of their information from radio.

RevBev December 21st, 2013 at 3:05 pm
In response to David Hoffman @ 47

Thank you for the summary. That is much the way I have felt while reading the book, which Ive not yet finished…how much information and courage and energy were portrayed….In the crazy world we know, what are your thoughts about the next outbreaks of change? News/things seem very restless right now.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 3:06 pm

I wrote a memoir first, called “The Religion of Dogs,” but I couldn’t publish it for fear it would embarrass Internews…too much sex, drugs and rock and roll. I also wrote a novel in 32 days called “Under the Diamond Tree,” but although it proved to me that I could finish a novel, it was pretty weak.

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 3:09 pm

You’ve been on book tour here and abroad. Is there a difference in the response to your thesis between Europeans, Americans, and, say, Tunisians?

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 3:12 pm

What advice do you have for young aspiring journalists?

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 3:15 pm
In response to RevBev @ 53

I think our old 18th century political systems are sclerotic and unable to cope with the changes happening in society, especially around technology. I’m not sure how to change that, but we are increasingly seeing gridlock where we need bold and innovative change. The popular movements against corruption will continue to expand. Things are restless now, as you say. My big fear is that we are losing the political center and are moving away from each other into our partisan tribes (see Eli Pariser “The Filter Bubble”) But the massive connectivity that Bob Fuller is referring to when he speaks of everyone having cell phones, will means that there will continue to be smarter and smarter citizens and they will demand their dignity be respected. I am a pathological optimist though. I believe the struggle between the fundamentalists of this world and the secular modernists who embrace science will inevitably tilt towards the modernists (see McWorld Vs. Jihad). The more people have access to information and the ability to connect, the more enlightened they’ll become. I think we’ll see greater citizen participation in governance.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 3:18 pm

yes. The Europeans were concerned about neocolonialism, the imposition of Western values on underdeveloped cultures. They were concerned about questions about development. Americans (other than int’l NGOs) don’t even know what development refers to. The questions in the US were mostly about models of sustainability–business questions, In Tunisia the questions were more about citizen journalism, but my audience was mostly professional print journalists.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 3:20 pm

First, I tell them to go for their dreams and never worry about money. Then, I reassure them that their training as journalists will help them in almost any field they venture into (good story telling skills). Alawys tell the truth, I tell them. And, it doesn’t matter whether you have a PhD from Columbia J School or are a farmer in South Sudan, a good story based on facts is always good journalism and will always win out.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 3:22 pm
In response to David Hoffman @ 59

Isn’t your character Adam, in the Rowan Tree, a photo journalist? What advice would you have given him when he started?

karenjj2 December 21st, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Welcome to the lake, David. I’m not familiar with Internews. Is it a model that might be used in developing countries to develop an outlet for new journalists?

RevBev December 21st, 2013 at 3:25 pm

I love that…maybe the Truth thing is what will save us….why, in your opinion, do the politicians not catch on to the power of the Truth?

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 3:26 pm

During the Cold War, the USSR repressed independent journalism. With the dissolution of the USSR, Internews had a part in democratizing journalism in Russia. Now President Putin has reintroduced a large measure of censorship and state control of the media. Was Internews’s work in the 1990s in vain? What is it doing now to support free media in Russia?

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 3:26 pm
In response to karenjj2 @ 61

It is that. We’ve worked in more than 90 countries and have helped start about 10,000 or so independent radio and TV stations. We’ve also trained motte than 150,000 journalists and media professions around the world. See http://www.internews.org

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 3:29 pm
In response to RevBev @ 62

Great question. I was just thinking about that this morning, wondering what would happen if a major political leader really did just flat out tell the truth about everything. I thought it remarkable that Obama admitted to his mistakes. Imagine if he shared with us all his frustrations, his dreams, his anxieties, his hopes and fears. But perhaps secrets are essential to governing. That may be true for diplomacy, for examples. How can you make a deal if you expose everything? But I wish someone would try it.

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Yes, my protagonist Adam Blue in “The Rowan Tree” begins as a photo-journalist, but ends in the White House. And from there he goes to China to try to co-invent “dignitarian” global governance. The novel is a free eBook at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B0NH3Y2/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00B0NH3Y2&linkCode=as2&tag=breakingranks-20

Pardon the plug; my excuse is that the book is FREE.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 3:32 pm

I often worry about that. But I believe that the thousands of journalists we trained still have the skills and knowledge to rebuild a new and more independent media. Also, outside of Moscow there is far more independent media than the Moscow-tethered western journalists realize. And look at what Novalny accomplished through social media. In politics, the game is never over.

RevBev December 21st, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Im trying to think the last time we had a mostly honest President….ummmm? So sad. As you say with Obama, that was refreshing.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 3:39 pm
In response to RevBev @ 68

Jimmy Carter was very honest in nhis decline of America speech, but it cost him greatly.

karenjj2 December 21st, 2013 at 3:39 pm
In response to David Hoffman @ 65

Well, an interesting bit of truthful dealing is Putin’s offer to Ukraine of 30% reduced gas price plus $15 billion low cost loan to refi debt. What was EU’s offer? extraction, privatization and debt ala Greece. a/k/a “free trade”

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Thanks for your refreshingly honest answers to our questions. I hope your book is read by tens of thousands worldwide. Is there anything we’ve not covered that you want participants to take away?

karenjj2 December 21st, 2013 at 3:43 pm
In response to David Hoffman @ 64

wow! That is tremendous! I’m ashamed that I wasn’t aware of such a remarkable achievement. Kudos to you!

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 3:44 pm

It is really sad that the EU is so weak in this case. Putin completely outmaneuvered them.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 3:47 pm
In response to karenjj2 @ 72

Thank you. Right now, for example, Internews is providing the news for people in South Sudan. We help run the main AM radio station and five FM ones. And check out the work we’re doing in refugee camps like the ones for Syrian refugees in Jordan or the massive camp (750,000 refugees!) in Dadaab in Kenya along the Somali border. Also, we’re providing emergency radio news to the people most affected by the hurricane in the Philippines. i’m very proud of this organization. Thanks for checking it out.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 3:49 pm

No, I think we hit most of the bases. But here’s a question for you and Bev, too. What if we just completely surrendered to all the NSA and others’ surveillance and just declared that everything should be transparent–our web searches, our preferences, everything. What is we substituted transparency for privacy?

RevBev December 21st, 2013 at 3:50 pm
In response to David Hoffman @ 57

Thank you for your work and the information; maybe I can become a bit more optimistic again.

RevBev December 21st, 2013 at 3:52 pm
In response to David Hoffman @ 75

And assume that we all want to be safe and maybe all get along?….Sounds possible. What would the MIC say?

Robert W Fuller December 21st, 2013 at 3:53 pm

I defer to you on the question of the relative value of privacy and transparency. But would you been able to build Internews if everything you did to do so was known to the funders?

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 3:53 pm
In response to RevBev @ 76

why not? You have nothing to lose but your fear.

BevW December 21st, 2013 at 3:53 pm

As we come to the last few minutes of this great Book Salon discussion, any last thoughts?

David, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book, and the importance of citizen journalists.

Robert, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

David’s website and book – and Internews

Robert’s website (Breaking Ranks) and Book

Thanks all, Have a great Holiday!!

Tomorrow: Andrew Bacevich / Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country; Hosted by Juan Cole

If you would like to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

Dearie December 21st, 2013 at 3:55 pm

David @75…… I do not understand what you mean by “transparency for privacy”? What makes you think the shadow government would ever be transparent? And, really, isn’t our privacy already a thing of the past?

karenjj2 December 21st, 2013 at 3:55 pm
In response to David Hoffman @ 75

NSA wants transparency of citizens lives NOT government transparentcy as demonstrated by prosecution of countless whistleblowers.

David Hoffman December 21st, 2013 at 3:57 pm

But the funders would have had to be transparent too. It’s just interesting to imagine a world where there was no private information. The data that Amazon has, the accumulated data that are in the cloud, has information on everything about me–from my fantasy searches on the web to my bio-metric data. It would not be too great a jump to imagine that some future Snowden would just make the entire cloud available to everyone. Could be a good theme for a science fiction script. Would we all kill each other for our infidelities or would the fact that everyone was transparent make us all equal–all too human. I think I’m getting punch drunk from two hours of this. Maybe we should just thank everyone who tuned in and call it a day. Have a wonderful holiday season. Be safe. Be happy!

RevBev December 21st, 2013 at 3:58 pm
In response to David Hoffman @ 79

Come on back…we’ll continue the conversation as a 12 Step model. I teach some very limited kids, and I seriously remind them everytime about the importance/worth of telling the truth. There are many things they cannot do; they can be truthful.

karenjj2 December 21st, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Thank you for the conversation, David and Robert — very enlightening.

Thank you for another fine salon, Bev; sincerely appreciated.

frmrirprsn December 21st, 2013 at 4:10 pm
In response to David Hoffman @ 83

I’m sorry to come so late to an important conversation. I think the kind of transparency you’re talking about makes us vulnerable. You mentioned THE BUBBLE, which is in part about the ability of people with information about us to manipulate what we view. There is tremendous power in that. To take a trivial example, I’d like to lose weight, but I like to eat hot fudge sundaes. A restaurant that makes an excellent hot fudge sundae often sends me a coupon on Fridays. (It has my email address because I like the coupons.)I expect these coupons have some effect on whether I go out or stay home and microwave Lean Cuisine.

Now take it further. How much can I be manipulated. Transparency doesn’t mean accuracy. Can government or industry magnify the worst of me for control or profit? They will know what I’m likely to believe. They will be able to stir my emotions. I search on DUCKDUCKGO less because I don’t want Google to track me than because I don’t want Google predicting the responses to my search.

Thank you for this discussion.

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