When this Libya shitstorm started, I heard about it first on /k/ (let me just get the embarrassment about that over with here and now. Yep, I go on /k/ occasionally. I’m a vile person. Moving on.) It had, unsurprisingly, the best weapons analysis apart from Chivers, but the various bits of news and analysis (in among all the cursing, racism, trolling, stupidity and black humour; the signal to noise ratio is always vile) were not only much better informed in terms of military understanding and tactical insight, they were also up to the minute. When the Khamis Brigade started thrusting vaguely in and out of Ajdabiya like a drunk, armoured rapist, I heard it on /k/ first, and they were right. The time-lag between something actually happening in Libya and it being reported was something like fifteen-thirty minutes on the chans, an hour or two for Al Jazeera, and six to twelve hours on mainstream Western news media, with speed correlating directly with quality of reporting and analysis.
It looks – not to speak too soon – like we may be coming to the end of it. But the Beeb is, as usual, just clumsily rephrasing trending hashtags with no actual idea what’s going on, the rest of the mainstream media is flailing in various degrees of officious cluelessness, Al Jazeera is infodumping masses of politics that I don’t have context for, and most people reporting from the ground are trying way too hard to be gonzo.
There’s something terribly, terribly wrong about a world in which I go to 4chan to be informed.