The citizen journalist is the new pop hero, says Joseph Forrest.
The Arab Spring.
The Occupy Movement.
The Black Lives Matter Movement.
The killing of innocents in the streets around the world.
All these cultural upheavals have one thing in common. Most would have been nothing but sound bites on the 10 o’clock news without the aid of a miniature supercomputer with the ability to record and broadcast a pirate signal for the entire world to see. In these days of cyberpunk technology and guerrilla mentality, the citizen journalist is the new pop hero. They don’t just record the news—they stand in the middle of it, fear running through them, to ensure someone, anyone, can see both the injustices and the good deeds alike.
Mainstream media today leaves a sour taste in the mouths of Gen X’ers and Millenials alike. It’s a known quantity that they’re pushers of distraction and work for corporate interests who pay for presidents worldwide. No, that’s not a nutty conspiracy theory, and they’re not the Illuminati. They are the elite 1% you’ve heard about so often—rich beyond belief—and they spend a considerable amount of money to get what they want. Much of their influence comes through channels like CNN, FOX, and MSNBC, which spew out clear propaganda backing one crooked candidate or another. Honest politicians (if there is such a mythical creature) don’t get any air time because they’re not pushing corrupted messages to the masses. They just become footnotes in a history book.
With the rise of the citizen journalist, we find our eyes open as the world is revealed through live feed snippets broadcast unfiltered and raw. We now have instant access to global cultures, and the ability to reach out and connect at any moment. Cheap technology has ushered in an era of profound communication. Lay people have found that they have a recording studio in their hands. They realize that while guns and bullets and bombs are powerful weapons, nothing is as powerful as the truth. They turn these robot eyes on the world to tear away the veil of secrecy that has long kept dictators and despots safe. When mainstream media failed us, a new kind of reporter arose from the ashes of the once honest field of journalism. The birth of the citizen journalist, free from the paradigms created by the owners of the newsfeeds, is the love child of Ed Murrow and Hunter S. Thompson. You can’t hide from us all, and you can’t stop us all. The citizen journalist has no borders, no gods, no masters. They are legion.
There are rules, of course. Laws that bind this new creature. They are hunted mercilessly by authorities during public events and not given press passes. They sometimes gain police records to reveal truths the world needs to see. Everyone’s 15 minutes of fame has become an attainable goal now for anyone, who can jack a network cable into a wall jack or hook up to the ethereal Wi-Fi, can play witness live and in HD.
The technologies behind this revolutionary new form of journalism have just reached greater and greater heights. We can now witness atrocity after atrocity live on many platforms. This disturbs the remainder of the generation that came before us because crime was much easier to ignore when they were young. Till they were confronted with the realities of the Vietnam War playing out in front of their eyes on prime time, no one knew what was happening in the world. The powers that be censored telecasts because they didn’t think people could withstand the horrors of war. They chose to feed us beautiful lies while hiding the ugly truth.
The inheritors of the world today want to know the truth. You see murders happen live in your own streets. You see bombs kill the innocent a world away. You watch our “protectors” turn against us violently. The only true crime today is to pretend none of that is happening.
You can’t stop it. It’s like a river and if you cut it off, it will find a new path to flow. No matter how thick a security wall you build, these citizens seeking truths will hack their way through it. They’ll jump the fences; they’ll risk their lives in some cases. They realize if the world gets swallowed up by the madness, the entire species is a goner along with the planet. So, why the hell not try to do something that matters and show the world the lies they’re forced to swallow?
The death of old media and the rise of a youth-filled, digitally armed citizen journalist army is a significant evolutionary leap that will continue to ripple across our collective future. It will be the clash of good and evil, with a considerable amount of gray as well. There will be nowhere to hide from the eyes of the public. Big Brother thought it was getting a surveillance state, but they never realized it works both ways. When you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you. One person, one video, one leaked document can now change the power paradigm overnight and that is power that few nations, with all their military might, can boast of. For the corrupt controllers of the world, this new breed of journalist is a weapon of mass destruction who eats away at their weapons of mass distraction, peeling back the onion layer by layer, until everyone sees them for what they are.
This brave new world has been born at the hands of the citizen journalists; they have proven that the truth is the true superpower humans now have at their disposal—and they are not afraid to use it.
Photo: Getty Images