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Frank Rich

#3: It's About Dignity and Poverty, Not About Facebook

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

Our Top Ten Blog Posts by Readership in 2011

Originally published on February 8, 2011

Frank Rich, op-ed columnist at the New York Times, made a very important point this week: Revolutions are not about Facebook and Twitter. Revolutions are about human dignity and hunger. It seems that a few journalists are trying to push the (mainstream) media's fascination with the role of (social) media in Egypt, Tunisia, and Iran toward a more realistic point of view. After a prime-time CNN talking head stated that social media are the most fascinating thing about the events in Egypt (!), some senior journalists seem to have had it with the ICT hype. Rich tries to pull attention to why people rise up against their government: "starting with the issues of human dignity and crushing poverty."

Why the Pundit Deserves your Sympathy

Sina Odugbemi's picture

Newspaper opinion writers perform an important function. If they didn't, there wouldn't be so many of them because nobody would be reading them. And as a group ---often known as the commentariat --- opinion columnists can be powerful. (See generally a short but important study concerning British opinion writers published in 2008 by Julia Hobsbawn and John Lloyd: The Power of the Commentariat). But writing a weekly or twice-weekly newspaper column is hard, very hard. You have to have something other-than-trite to say; at least you hope so.  You have to write as elegantly as you can. And you have to hope that enough people read you or else the Editor will end your column.  Now, I know this from personal experience because for a good many years I supported myself as a columnist, once writing three columns a week for different newspapers on different subjects, all while trying to earn a degree in law.