How The Internet Works

I feel I need to explain this to Shakespear Feyissa, because he doesn’t seem to have clue 1 about online culture. He also seems to have missed out on clue 1 when it comes to journalism ethics, but his being a lawyer makes it easier for me to understand how anything related to ethics probably went right over his head.

His full story ishere,and you can see the old article that’s got him so upsethereorherein case he somehow manages to strong-arm the newspaper into taking it down.

Which brings me to how the internet works. When are people going to realize that trying to get something taken offline accomplishes nothing more than ensuring that whatever you don’t want people to see will be plastered all over the web for the rest of time? It seems like such a simple concept, one that applied even before there was an internet. When you were a kid and mom and dad told you not to go into a certain drawer or to stay out of the cookie jar, what was the first thing you did when you thought you wouldn’t get caught? If you were normal, you tried to get into the drawer or nip a cookie. If something is forbidden, it’s tempting. That’s simple human nature. And when one person who feels that he’s on the wrong end of some news coverage tries to dictate to the media and the public what’s forbidden, it’s online human nature to put that person in his place. It’s also online human nature for millions of people who didn’t know your name before to learn all about it and make sure that everybody else can too. In short, if that article in the Falcon pisses you off, just think about how you’re going to feel when countless blogs and news sites pick it up. Not only are you going to look like somebody who makes outlandish statements about discrimination, but you’re also going to look like the whiney crazy guy who thinks he has more power than everybody else’s right to a free press and historical facts.

What Shakespear Feyissa needs to understand is that what he’s asking for is ridiculous. Telling a newspaper to remove a story and pretend something didn’t happen is like some German guy asking the HistoryChannel to edit Hitler out of all of the war footage. Nobody would stand for it, nor should they. And they aren’t going to stand for this either, but I’m sure he’s already finding that out the hard way.

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