Weblogs Empowering People

 

In Aruba today, we are seeing a very interesting dynamic. The country is terrified over the damage that to their country that the whole Natalee disappearance  is causing. This is not to discount the disappearance of  Natalee Holloway, the people are genuinely caring and loving and searching and worried for her, it is part of their make up. However, when the islands economy is hanging in the balance, the people of Aruba are scared and near panic. They know that if the story goes wrong, many bad things will happen to them.

The Aruban people are especially frustrated by the American media. Bill O’Reilly is being vilified after his show last night insinuating that the drug lords are so influential in Aruba that they are trying to make the story to go away so the US government will not look closely at them. So FOX is persona non grata.

Rumors are abound that the CNN reporters have been abrupt with the people they have been in contact with and are writing stories that are not true. So CNN is not as disliked as Fox but still not very well liked.

So today, we were amazed that on ARUBADAG.COM , the national television and radio chain, had a large graphic pointing there American readers to Scared Monkeys as the authoritative news source for the Natalee Holloway story. Both Red and I said a big WOW.

Missing-arubadag

We thank the management of Arubadag for trusting the story of Natalee Holloway with Scared Monkeys. We are humbled and proud that with all of the media choices that are available, they chose us. But we also recognize that the power of the weblog is being recognized.

We have been able to cover this story not through the throwing of reporters at it, but through the network. We read all of the major media stories and give our opinion, we provide a comment section that allows both Arubans and Americans to talk with each other. We have had a Dutchman describe the legal system of the Netherlands so that Americans could understand the differences and understand why it looks as if nothing is happening when actually the system is moving at its proper speed. Other great examples of this:

  • A personal friend of Mickey John from America gives a view of him that is different.
  • An Aruban explains the anger at Bill O’Reilly and why
  • And another Aruban in the United States who is friends with the Van Der Sloots.
  • Amy who informs us when and how to hear the press conferences, so we have the same access to the key players that the press on site does.
  • Another Father who allows us to see a father’s unbridled concern for his daughters
  • And a girl who went to school with Natalee telling what the trip was described as, and the local stories going around Mountain View.

These are just a few instances out of the hundreds of comments that we have received in the last few days. And they all were not this good, but some were better, and a vast majority were from people who felt empowered to be a part of the story and wished to help with a positive statement, or a tip, or just I am there for you Holloways.

The synergy of the weblog allows us to cover a story that even the Aruban media recognizes is as effective if not superior to any of the media in America. What we have done is something that many other bloggers could have done. We found the information, presented it for people to analyze, and then gave a forum for others to give their opinions and insights.

The weblog is a powerful tool, and the reshaping of the media landscape will allow this tool to empower the readers to enhance the story. The only question is whether the large the media will assume the responsibility, or will they wither on the vine, and bloggers take the lead.

Now go and say a prayer or think a positive thought for Natalee and her family. That is the best thing you could do right now.

Posted June 9, 2005 by
Bloggers, General | 12 comments


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  • Comments

    12 Responses to “Weblogs Empowering People”

    1. BamaMOM on June 10th, 2005 3:41 am

      KUDOS to your parents, WOIMB. Because they loved you enough to make you stay home, they have you now, and will hopefully have you for a lifetime. YEA for parents who can & will say “NO”.

      Another reader of this blog asked, “Are you going to live in your child’s freshman dorm with them?” as a response to the call for more diligent parental (& chaperone) supervision by some of us who think those kids had no business taking the trip in the first place. My response is, “No, probably not, although I may try to live nearby. However, I don’t intend for my child’s college dorm to be in a seedy bar on an island run by drug cartels, either.” Such a comparison is asinine. I would dare say that most ADULTS should not frequent such places, let alone 17 & 18 year old children.

      Our prayers are with Natalee, and with all missing children in the world. My most fervent prayers are with the mothers of those children.

    2. Outside The Beltway on June 10th, 2005 7:40 am

      Blogs Leading the Way in Pseduo News, Too

      Blogs have been the leaders in breaking or at least drawing attention to some major stories. First, it was the Trent Lott affair. Then, the Dan Rather case. Then Eason Jordan. Now, Scared Monkeys has been designated the official source of Natalee H…

    3. Leila on June 10th, 2005 9:55 am

      Firstly, congrats to the Scrared Monkeys. U guys are doing something tremendous job. Hope today u wont have to be policing some “elements” too much. Today, the morning starts quiet after a heavy day and night of media covering. A lot of pendulum swinging of emotions from people all around the world. “She shouldn’t have”, “they are to blame”, “lowlifes”, the”Aruban People”.Hey you know what, and I know YOU heard this before:

      The truth you can always find in the middle. Yes, the people are distraught, and who gives a damn about other missing persons in the Bronx, Aruba and Iraq (it seems …). Yesterdays newspaper (Diario) published dreams of people who dreamt about Natalee Holloway. So much this has become a top story, it’s in the people consciousness all over. And now it’s being portrayed in the people’s unconscious as well through dreams.

      Jimmy Oduber will host a tv program next tuesday on Telearuba called “Cosnan Straà ±o” (transl: Strangs Things), july 14, on exactly this topic, the disappearance of Natalee. People from all the world will be able to call in. It’ll show the world, that we in Aruba are very much working on getting Natalee back. Till then we’ll pray for her save return, cus that what we believe here, she’ll return safe.

    4. Red on June 10th, 2005 12:20 pm

      Hmm … Some how actually doing investigative reporting, networking with other bloggers, emailing & contacting actual individuals involved that have first hand knowledge, getting comments for material and sourcing is some how unworthy by some. I thought that is what Glenn Reynolds et al meant when they dreamed up the idea of The Pajama Media. We dont have the access as many larger existing blogs who may also have media connection, but we do with what we have. The only thing Red & Tom haven’t done is blogged live in Aruba, not that we would not want to. Unfortunately our budget at Scared Monkeys does not support it as our google ads would not pay for the island tax to leave Aruba.

      Interesting. So said bloggers have never done stories to create search engine traffic. What a concept to actually moralistically do a story and get your hands dirty in the process vs. reiterating others. Its pretty difficult to understand the traffic issues when SM has only google ads on it. In reality we have actually gone down on the search engines as we have reported on this story.

      I (Red), lived and worked, (not in the tourism industry) in Aruba and knew many fine people during my stay there. My family & I had gone there for over 30 years and have seen the island go from 3 or 4 hotels to more than I can count. I would hardly think that the many fine people of Aruba would think the potential devastation to their economy is a pseudo-story. Imagine if this were about the USA? 70% of the GDP of Aruba is tourism and the USA makes up about 70% of that number. Translate that to the USA and see what type of story it would be.

      More importantly and TO THE POINT there is Natalee Holloway. We provide an outlet for Natalee, her parents, her family friends and many that have joined this cause. That’s what this is about.

      SOMETIMES ITS ABOUT DOING THE RIGHT THING and to make the story known to as many as possible in hopes of finding Natalee. We at Scared Monkeys thank all who have participated in this no matter what your opinions may have been. We thank the many who have emailed us from Aruba, from TN and from all over with your thoughts and prayers for Natalee. I am deeply touched.

      Scared Monkeys has always been, when I say always for 3 1/2 months since Tom & I began, a political, news, whimsical, everything kind of blog. Because that’s what we both are. That is what we will always be. If we can provide a forum for Natalee, her parents and Aruba to disseminate stories to people; we are honored.

      Thank you all.

      Red

    5. Sleeks on June 10th, 2005 2:20 pm

      Good Day To All – Just wanted to say thank you for all these blogs. I really hope and believe the truth Will come out with regards to Natalee Holloway. In fact, I am hoping and believing that not only will she be returned safely but so will Amy Bradley another American missing since 98. I would sincerely ask the powers that be who read these, to LOOK & SEARCH EVERYWHERE!!! I will even go so far as Columbia, Venezuela, and all those surrounding countries. For the sake of these young women and their families. And not that anyone has asked specifically for my opinion – I am free to give it anyway. First of all – I have been to Aruba. I can say I am not at all impressed. AND more importantly I did not find the locals all that friendly or helpful. It is a desolate place with some very lonesome and creepy areas. I even remember being followed by a stray dog. I am a person who loves dogs but having a stray follow me for several long blocks is not a memory of dogs I like having. I am in no way saying that tourists should stay away but just like anything else, do research before going anywhere. I honestly do not believe either of these women are dead. I truly believe however, they are no longer on Aruba. And to the operators and owners of Carlos & Charles – I say this, it would appear in times past you have “looked the other way” at things that as a so-called reputible business, should have SERIOUSLY PAID ATTENTION TO. I have read the letter you posted on your website since Natalee has gone missing. I think it is a great fiction. I also believe after finding out more & more about your establishment – you certainly could have afforded a hell of allot more than $5,000. US Dollars. Yes it is true that individuals are free to go or not to go to your establishment. But when you see things and just blantantly look the other way, THAT IS COMPLETELY WRONG.

    6. el on June 12th, 2005 11:05 am

      I sure hope, because Van der Shoot is a police chief’s son, that they don’t automatically blame the 2 black security guards.

      It just seems that this has been the way for so many hundreds of years, that the blacks get blamed for so much more than they commit.

      Seems to me it’s the 3 boys who had Natalee in her car who should be held and investigated to the max.

      Jes my 2 cents.

    7. Penny on June 13th, 2005 1:39 pm

      I am a potential tourist. I am one of those people you are trying to protect by trying to make us think that nothing violent happened to this girl named Natalie. In doing this you obviously do not understand Americans. We are suspicious by nature. We have experienced being manipulated. We know your country is manipulating us to try to make us think your country is safe.

      The funny thing is we would think your country is safer if you could quickly prove what happened to the missing girl and would deal with the offenders harshly and properly. That is what makes Americans feel safe in a country, not pretending nothing happened. If you want tourism to flourish in your country you will find out what happened. You will not cover it up. You will prosecute the crime. You will then reap the benefits.

      If you don’t handle it this way you will reap the consequences. Americans will feel you are soft on crime. They will be afraid to come because they know if anything happens you won’t do anything about it. They will know they are not safe in your country.

      These boys know what happened. These boys did something to this girl. All Americans feel strongly about that. Now its your time to do something. Prove to us crime is not allowed there. Prove to us we are safe when we come because criminals are dealt with.

    8. JC on July 14th, 2005 3:13 pm

      First comment I have is this: I have been to Caribbean countries before. I will NOT be going back to any of them. None of them….nada. I am not angry with the citizens of Aruba. But this is clear: When you step into another country you are under their law. Good, bad or indifferent….you are under their law. In Aruba we now learn this…..guess what?….there is no JURY. A judge decides alone who is guilty and frees or passes sentence. That is, unless the defendant is the son of a judge-to-be. Under this type system, the public never knows what the facts are. How convenient in this case. All is kept secret. That is fertile ground for a judicial system to prosecute and/or let go whom it wishes….guilty or not. Why should they worry? After all, its all secret and know one will know. The evidence is kept from the public.

      To begin with, I felt the Aruban authorities were within their right to keep things from the ratings-driven dogs in the news media and operate under their own system. That was before I realized how the system worked.

      As an American viewer I would like to summarize how I see this, right or wrong, …..and God knows I hope I am embarrassed and proven wrong. I will gladly bow out and acknowledge my wrong opinion if I am.

      Summary:

      Natalle leaves the club with Joran.

      Natalie doesn’t return.

      Joran and the Kalpoes say they dropped her off at her hotel and point to the two black guards.

      So what do the Aruban authorites do? Arrest the judge-to-be’s son who left with her? No. Heavens no! Arrest the two security guards. After all, they’re black.

      Cameras prove otherwise. (an old American saying says….”cameras do not lie”)

      So, the gurads are released and one of them tells the media (if I remember correctly) he overheard one of the police or prosecutiing authorities say, “How am I suppose to do that to that boy, he’s my best friends son”. Even before this hit the news, I had little faith in the authorities in Aruba due to impressions I got from their interviews on TV.
      They couldn’t tell you anything.
      They didn’t know anything
      They haven’t heard anything. Just like the 3 monkeys.

      I knew what was going to happen here as far back as the first interviews shown on TV, and in fact, I told my wife “they don’t want to find anything on this kid”. She’s an American. Nobody gives a damn about Americans outside of America and England. We spill our blood and guts on foregin soil at least attempting to defend freedom for those who can’t fight for themselves against some tinhorn dictator weilding a sword, and no one cares. Almost no one. What they want from America is our tourist dollars, our foreign aid, and suck her for everything they can get from her, and then to hell with her. They’re just Americans. And all we ever asked in return was for enough ground to bury out dead.

      Continuing:

      The three boys are held.

      The boys are released for 10 DAYS. Hey, you can’t blame the Aruban authorities. They don’t want any evidence here. Lets give them 10 days to do away with it all and get this country back to being a “quiet” place.

      The father is arrersted.

      The father is released.

      Stories get changed.

      Joran then says he left Natalee on a beach 2 miles away from her hotel. How did he get home? What a stinking mess.

      The Aruban authorities reject any offer of help by the FBI (which they aren’t obligated to do, admittedly). In fact, Aruba rejects any offer to assist from anyone in America.

      I don’t think we’re dealing with people in authority who are incompetent. I think we’re dealing with competent people who are covering up by delay, conflicting information, freeing of suspects, and no desire to doggedly pursue suspects.

      The story gets changed multiple times. Proven lies are told by all 3 boys. The father even lied to Natalee’s mother.

      What do the authorities in Aruba do? Nothing. Just continue the same drudgery and delay. Do they attempt to impound the car, search for forebsic evidence? No. Do they search the homes of the boys, or their clothing for forensic evidence? No. They don’t do any of that for weeks…..not until AFTER they released the boys for 10 days. NOW… its ok. We can go in and search.

      I could clean up anything if someone allowed me 10 days! This is what I meant earlier by stating the Aruban authorities aren’t wanting any evidence. They want this to just GO AWAY. Die….be gone. Over time the Americans will forget about all this. Maybe. Maybe not. I know I won’t. My mind is made up already….UNLESS….the Aruban system does come through with a bona fide conviction. Even at that, the way they have kept Natalee’s family from even the smallest of information is simply beyond belief. But, this isn’t happening in America.

      The last thing I saw Aruban authorites to insult my intelligence was the F-16 demonstation. A month AFTER, they send up an F-16 with infrared heat-seeking cameras. Give me a break. Give…. me…. a …..break.

      One thing for sure…we all now know we aren’t dealing with an American -style justice system here. The system is right there on my TV screen for me and all Americans to see. Not to mention the rest of the world. The hard naked truth stares us in the face and its a sobering thought. ….and the thought is telling me in the pit of my stomach why I will never visit another Caribbean country.

    9. Honey on July 19th, 2005 3:54 pm

      I have been watching the news about this story since the start. It’s awful. From the beginning it tugged my heartstrings and I wasn’t sure why. I swear I’m not crazy, and fortunately, after watching today’s news, I felt more comfortable about submitting a comment. On a morning show, the anchors mentioned that a medium had been brought in to help with the investigation… I had a vision the second week of Natalee’s disappearance but I didn’t want to call anyone connected with the case for fear I’d be viewed as a nut-job. I saw a young girl in a cave/cove in a rocky, mountainous area. After seeing some footage of the lighthouse area, I think it was around there. It is a space large enough for a person to sit in comfortably and a large boulder like rock was blocking the opening. A shadow was cast on the rock by a person moving it to remove Natalee. She was alive, on all fours crawling out; dressed in a white or light tank top and either jean shorts or a skirt. Her hair was matted and dirty. She had streaks of dirt on her face and upper body. I have not had any visions since.

    10. el on July 31st, 2005 11:24 am

      Well, now, it being something like 65 days since Natalee went missing, and being a world traveler, I too agree that we shouldn’t go to the islands. So let’s BOYCOTT ALL THE SE ISLANDS!

      No Jury – under whatever country’s jurisdiction/laws – forget it. I love Europe and since 9/11 am even having trouble even wanting to fly ANYWHERE, especially out of the USA, my mother country!

      What I DID read is that the DJ boat owner who was arrested after the 3 boys, the DJ with the name of CROES – well, there is also in ARUBAN GOVT a man by the name of CROES……..possibly the father of the DJ.
      Know what I think? I think they fed her to the sharks, and I think they are wasting their time digging now in a landfill. Remember what Paulo Van Der Sloot was quoted as saying to the boys when he visited them in jail? “No body, no case.” Do you really think they were stupid enough to dump her in a landfill where the body COULD be found? Naw….think again. When the CROES kid, the DJ, got out of jail – did y’all see him laughing and carrying on directly outside the jail? That CROES kid knows a ton of stuff about Natalee’s disappearance I am sure and they just let him go. His possible relative in govt, with the name of CROES….must be some big-wig in Aruban govt.

      ‘Jes my 2 cents, once again. *S*

    11. George on August 3rd, 2005 7:54 am

      Has any thought to look for Natalee in the graveyards? It strikes me that the best place to hide a body would be a graveyard. Above ground graves are common on islands, with lids that can be removed, or with doors. Dogs would be of no use , too many bodies…

    12. kathryn Seranduc on August 3rd, 2005 1:35 pm

      I lived for some time on an island.
      Every islander knows where the shark feeding places are.

      I am amazed that no one has considered that Natalie’s body
      may have been put in the water and fed to sharks.
      Apparantly there is a spot on the island near a meat plant, where this
      is commonly known. There are often shark feeding frenzies in that location.

      I was unwittingly almost food for sharks in Hawaii, so I know this can easily happen,
      and may well have happened in this case in Aruba.
      I feel this should be looked into and considered as a strong possibility
      Kathryn

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