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[ox] Internet-Kommerzialisierung in den Medien

Hallo alle,

der folgende Artikel beschreibt den zunehmenden Kommerzialisierungs-"Spin"
in der (U$-)Medienberichterstattung über das Internet.  Denke das passt
zum kürzlich hier diskutierten Thema der "Verwertung".


________________ ________________

What Happened To The "Information Superhighway" ?
        By Norman Solomon
A few numbers tell a dramatic story about extreme changes in media
fascination with the Internet.

After the 1990s ended, I set out to gauge how news coverage of cyberspace
shifted during the last half of the decade. The comprehensive Nexis database
yielded some revealing statistics:

In 1995, media outlets were transfixed with the Internet as an amazing
source of knowledge. Major newspapers in the United States and abroad
referred to the "information superhighway" in 4,562 stories. Meanwhile,
during the entire year, articles mentioned "e-commerce" or "electronic
commerce" only 915 times.

In 1996, coverage of the Internet as an "information superhighway" fell to
2,370 stories in major newspapers, about half the previous year's level. At
the same time, coverage of electronic commerce nearly doubled, with mentions
in 1,662 articles.

For the first time, in 1997 the news media's emphasis on the Internet mainly
touted it as a commercial avenue. The quantity of articles in major
newspapers mentioning the "information superhighway" dropped sharply, to
just 1,314. Meanwhile, the references to e-commerce gained further momentum,
jumping to 2,812 articles.

In 1998, despite an enormous upsurge of people online, the concept of an
"information superhighway" appeared in only 945 articles in major
newspapers. Simultaneously, e-commerce became a media obsession, with those
newspapers referring to it in 6,403 articles.

In 1999, while Internet usage continued to grow by leaps and bounds, the
news media played down "information superhighway" imagery (with a mere 842
mentions in major papers). But media mania for electronic commerce exploded.
Major newspapers mentioned e-commerce in 20,641 articles.
How did America's most influential daily papers frame the potentialities of
the Internet? During the last five years of the 1990s, the annual number of
Washington Post articles mentioning the "information superhighway" went from
178 to 20, while such New York Times articles went from 100 to 17. But
during the same half decade, the yearly total of stories referring to
electronic commerce zoomed -- rising in the Post from 19 to 430 and in the
Times from 52 to 731.

In other prominent American newspapers, the pattern was similar. The Los
Angeles Times stalled out on the "information superhighway," going from 192
stories in 1995 to a measly 33 in 1999; Chicago Tribune articles went from
170 to 22. Meanwhile, the e-commerce bandwagon went into overdrive: The L.A.
Times accelerated from 24 to 1,243 stories per year. The Chicago Tribune
escalated from 8 to 486.

Five years ago, there was tremendous enthusiasm for the emerging World Wide
Web. Talk about the "information superhighway" evoked images of
freewheeling, wide-ranging exploration. The phrase suggested that the Web
was primarily a resource for learning and communication. Today, according to
the prevalent spin, the Web is best understood as a way to make and spend

The drastic shift in media coverage mirrors the strip-malling of the Web by
investors with deep pockets and neon sensibilities. But mainstream news
outlets have been prescriptive as well as descriptive. They aren't merely
reporting on the big-bucks transformation of the Internet, they're also
hyping it -- and often directly participating. Many of the same mega-firms
that dominate magazine racks and airwaves are now dominating the Web with
extensively promoted sites.

Yes, e-mail can be wonderful. Yes, the Internet has proven invaluable for
activists with high ideals and low budgets. And yes, Web searches can locate
a lot of information within seconds. But let's get a grip on what has been
happening to the World Wide Web overall.

The news media's recalibration of public expectations for the Internet has
occurred in tandem with the steady commercialization of cyberspace. More and
more, big money is weaving the Web, and the most heavily trafficked websites
reflect that reality. Almost all of the Web's largest-volume sites are now
owned by huge conglomerates. Even search-engine results are increasingly
skewed, with priority placements greased by behind-the-scenes fees.

These days, "information superhighway" sounds outmoded and vaguely quaint.
The World Wide Web isn't supposed to make sense nearly as much as it's
supposed to make money. All glory to electronic commerce! As Martha Stewart
rejoiced in a December 1998 Newsweek essay: "The Web gives us younger, more
affluent buyers."

Establishing a pantheon of cyber-heroes, media coverage has cast businessmen
like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Steve Case as great visionaries. If your
hopes for the communications future are along the lines of Microsoft, and America Online, you'll be mighty pleased.

Norman Solomon's new book is "The Habits of Highly Deceptive Media."


[English translation]
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