It’s been coming for a while. The instant coverage that the internet affords many things – rocket launches, concerts, sports and more besides – has often been touted as a threat to the mainstream media.
Last night in Texas, State Senator Wendy Davis did as she promised and spoke at remarkable length in an effort to prevent a law restricting womens’ access to abortion services being passed onto the state statute books. There wasn’t much mention of Senator Davis’ intention or efforts in the mainstream media, especially the tv news channels. But word soon got around Twitter of the live streaming of proceedings. 150,000 people were said to have watched events unfold.
This was not a good advertisement for the Texas legislature. Senator Davis was even censured for being handed a back support. As someone with a disability I have to say that is truly despicable.
And then, as my American friends say, “serious s**t happened”.
I’ll leave it to Rachel Sklar to tell the story.
Social media came to town and apparently exposed an effort to alter the time votes were cast on the official record. Tweets and Vines were passed around. People attending the Capitol got very angry and loudly let it be known.
And where were the tv news channels? Nowhere. For a short time Yahoo news had posted that Senator Davis’ efforts had been in vain and the Bill had been passed.
Then, at around 10am UK time this morning, confirmation came that the Bill was indeed dead.
All this happened not on live news channels but on web streams from the Capitol, Twitter and Vine.
If it wasn’t before then the bell is now tolling for television news channels. They need to up their game or become irrelevant. The internet provides alternatives to those sources which can’t or won’t cover issues that matter to people.
Governments are elected to serve their people, not impose narrow minded agendas on them. Why the tv news channels failed to report on this is not known. It was a Texas sized mistake. The voice of the people was heard in Texas last night and an attempt to screw them over was highlighted and stopped.
That is the power of the internet and social media. That is citizen journalism and activism at its best.