An open letter to one of my favorite news commentators, Daniel Shore

Dear Mr. Shore:

In a broadcast you decried the Internet because, unlike newspapers, it has no editing or fact checking or  review process to legitimize what’s written.

The Internet is not just the nation’s newspaper. It also is the town square and backyard fence. It is the bazaar where we banter.

I have a web site devoted to patient safety. I am one of the thousands of people whose lives are ruined by unfriendly practices in medicine each year (assault, rape and such like). There is no place else to banter about such experiences and what we have learned from those experiences. This is crowd sourcing. This is something that was not available before the Internet. This is a way to collect and share information that newspapers never gather.

Can patients be safe if doctors are the only ones allowed to talk? The Internet is our only hope for having a bazaar in which to banter, even though lawsuits frighten most patients out of using it in the most meaningful ways.

If Norman Rockwell were here, instead of painting a man standing up in a town meeting he might be painting someone whose face was lit by the glowing screen of his or her own blog or web site.