Monday, September 14, 2009

Craigslist is destroying Democracy


Quite a shocking thing to assert, but there's some sound reasoning behind this idea.
I was listening to the latest podcast of 'StackOverflow' by Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood.

This series of podcasts began as Joel and Jeff began documenting their adventures in setting up the great

website in which software programmers and pose questions to and get help from other programmers. The premise of talking about the stackoverflow website serves as a springboard for discussions about all manner of things software and software industry related.

So in this podcast

podcast #67

Joel reasons that a functioning democracy requires an informed public. When government's business is not open for inspection, it is easier for a government to no longer be accountable to those that they are supposed to be serving (in a democracy anyway).

That said one of the effects of craiglist is to take away revenue that newspapers used to get from classified advertisements. This classified ad revenue subsidized the work of investigative reporters. With newspapers dying off because of the loss of this revenue, the function of the investigative reporter is being lost and is not being replaced (tweeting and general blogging is not investigative journalism). Without an informed citizenry, democracy cannot function.

It's a bit of a reach, but I think there's some merit to this idea.

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