You are on an individual archive page

Click here to return to the main page

Wikipedia does good things. Reward them.

The Daily Links Page
Got a link to submit?
  • New Evidence Proves First Flag Made By Betsy Ross Actually Shirt For Gay Friend
  • Colbert Leads Huntsman in S.C.
  • Polish prosecutor 'shoots self after news conference'
  • Jim Rome leaving ESPN. Bonus: Footage of Jim Rome getting attacked by Jim Everett & crying like a baby
  • Broncos, Tim Tebow stun Steelers in OT, win 29-23 in NFL playoffs
  • Video: Remember 2008
       [ 1 comment ]
  • Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop faces weapon and drug charges
  • Video: Green Bay anchorman loves lamp
  • Video: Rodgers & Raji in the new Discount Double Check ad
  • Jim Rome: out of The Jungle and onto the (horse) farm
  • New IL Law Requires Photo ID To Buy Drain Cleaner
  • Fawn Cuddles Kitten, Hearts Explode
  • The priest who changed the course of history for the worse... by rescuing four-year-old Hitler from drowning in icy river
  • Get Fit or Get Fined: Web Service Offers to Charge You for Skipping the Gym
  • Fine proposed for botching US national anthem
  • Why Best Buy is Going out of Business...Gradually
       [ 1 comment ]
  • Edina boutique takes heat for trashing $4,000-plus gowns
  • Law Student Goes 'Homeless by Choice' Touts Value of Gym Club Membership
  • VIDEO: Snoop Dogg on 'The Price Is Right'
  • Flynn and Out
  • Don't put Bielema on the firing line
       [ 1 comment ]
  • Your end of the season Vikings comment thread
  • Mass. budget motel fights forfeiture by feds
  • Vikings scrutinize downtown Mpls. stadium site near basilica
  • Kelly Clarkson criticized on Twitter after singer endorses Ron Paul for President 
  • Political Predictions for 2012
  • We're All Doing The Best We Can
  • Video Of Little Girl Getting Pissed Off About Pink Toys Will Make Your Heart Swell
  • The 10 best sports-related Hitler Reactions of 2011
  • Happy Endings on the housing crisis
  • Why You Just Got New York Times Spam
  • There Will Be No Friday This Week In Samoa
  • The Most Hipster State In The US
  • Online Merchants Home in on Imbibing Consumers
       [ 1 comment ]
  • On islamic fashion
       [ 1 comment ]
  • Sears as Lampert's 'Mismanaged Asset' Loses Customers to Macy's
       [ 1 comment ]
  • 5 social network predictions for 2012
  • Cheetah, chimp star of classic Tarzan movies, dies at 80
  • The Hottest Things on TV in 2011
  • Beer in cans: It's not just for Bud anymore
  • Seven Packers earn Pro Bowl selections
  • The Worst Angry Christmas Tweets In the World
  • Minnesota cities try to hold back on rented housing
  • Why Iowa Shouldn't Vote First Anymore
  • Some Falcons Players Upset Drew Brees Went For The Record Last Night
  • We've Identified Jilted Packergirl
  • With its 'W' initiative, ESPN tries to solve the equation of serving women sports fans
  • Owner surprised to find cat regularly catches bus
  • Charles Barkley: Skip Bayless Has Surpassed Peter Vecsey As The Biggest Jackass In The History Of Journalism
  • Handicapping the 2011 NFL MVP Race, 2.0


  • What if AIDS started in the Internet era?

       February 25, 2009

    I've spent the last couple of days re-reading And The Played On. I still think Randy Shilt's book about AIDS is the greatest piece of journalism in modern history. If you haven't read it, you should.

    Anyway, reading the book again made me wonder about how different the early days of AIDS would have been in the Internet era.

    First of all, the early days of AIDS are a prime example of how the "legitimate" mainstream media's gatekeepers can wreck havoc. Writing about one of the first CBS news stories about AIDS, Shilt says:

    Of all of the sentence in this story, probably none was so pointedly directed at the fundamental problem than Rather's own lead-in, "you rarely hear a thing about it." As managing editor of the "CBS Nightly News," Rather passed the news judgment that made AIDS a disease that one rarely heard anything about. Three years later, television commentators would still be talking about AIDS as that disease you rarely heard anything about, as if they were helpless bystanders and not the very people who themselves had decreed the silence in the public media.

    Imagine an epidemic like AIDS striking today. You wouldn't have to wait for the New York Times to write about it. You'd be reading about it in blogs, in forums, on Facebook. Hell, if you wanted to, you could read about the first cases in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The internet is access to knowledge - something that was tragically lacking about AIDS in the early 1980s. Think about it, MMWR was mailed out to clinics and hospitals every week back then. Doctors and nurses were probably the only people that saw it. Now, anyone can read it pretty much anywhere and anytime they choose. Isn't that amazing?

    To be sure, there would be lots of crazy theories about the disease online. But there were lots of crazy theories without the internet. At least today, in the midst of all of the noise, you'd have a chance of finding some truth and taking some steps to protect yourself. For example, imagine that you needed a blood transfusion in 1982. Would it change your actions and demands if you knew the risks that entailed? Of course it would.

    Likewise, I'd like to think that exposure to information would not only have affected the public, but also their government. In the early 1980s, the government basically held all of their information about AIDS. Some officials feared scaring and/or offending gays, others had a vested interest in downplaying AIDS in order to keep budgets down or making sure funds weren't diverted to another organization. I think an epidemic like AIDS today would cause a bottom up demand for action, rather than a top down suppression of it.

    Just writing the words "top down suppression" make me sad. I love and admire Ronald Reagan, but AIDS spread on his watch and he and his administration have to shoulder some of the blame. Having read enough about Reagan and by Reagan, I have to believe that if had been honestly confronted early on about AIDS he would have done more. Whatever you believe about the man, he certainly had a good heart and had proven before that whatever he was, he wasn't a homophobe. Being a conservative isn't about not spending money when needed, it's about spending it wisely and efficiently. In the case of a worldwide epidemic, even the staunchest conservative would agree that institutions like the CDC and NIH are the places to turn.

    Basically, the internet makes it harder to tell a President or a top official just what he or she wants to hear. Like any other individual, they too now have the ability to get their news from thousands of different sources.

    It's ironic that those of us in marketing talk about the viral element of the internet, isn't it? The same forces that spread the "Kittens, Inspired by Kittens" video to over 2 million people since September, are the same forces that could have stopped a virus in its tracks much sooner.

    Posted by at February 25, 2009 09:01 PM

        The trackback entry for this page is :


    Trackback Entries



    There are no comments for this story.





      page rendered in 0.0439 seconds | ©2004, 2005