Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Word of the Day

Disintermediation: Removing the middleman or intermediary.

In a communications context disintermediation means to remove the mainstream media (MSM) from their roles as gatekeepers, interpreters and filterers of information. This can only be done, of course, by bypassing them through some other medium.

Ezra Klein has written an interesting piece on the resurrection of Al Gore. Our word of the day is offered as a description of Gore's effort to get around the MSM that done him wrong during the 2000 Presidential campaign—

On August 7, 2003, Gore headed to New York University to offer one of his first major speeches since his concession address; it was a notably prescient condemnation of the Bush administration's later bellicosity and overreach. But more visionary than the content was the distribution method: the speech was Gore's first ... offered under the auspices of the online-activism powerhouse, an alliance that granted Gore a direct conduit to millions of engaged liberal activists nationwide.

"I know the word fell out of favor after the dot-com collapse," mused Wes Boyd, founder of, "but he's doing disintermediation. He contacted us in the summer of 2003, said he wanted to give a speech, and was wondering if we'd like to sponsor it. What we lend to it is some of that disintermediation."

Disintermediation is a big word for a type of subtraction, the sort that excludes the middleman (the "mediator"). As a dot-com term, it described producers selling directly to customers rather than working through established retail channels. In Gore's case, it describes a public figure distributing his words directly to the public rather than working through established media outlets.

Simply Appalling is an avid proponent of disintermediation when the staff is sober enough to pronounce it.

Related post
Psst! Move over NY Times: The Whispering Campaign (6/27/05)

Disintermediation website
The Whispering Campaign

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