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Fifth Estate: Wikis


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The term "Fifth Estate" has no fixed meaning, but is used to describe any class or group in society other than the clergy (First Estate), the nobility (Second Estate), the commoners (Third Estate), and the press (Fourth Estate).[1] It has been used to describe trade unions, the poor, the blogosphere and organized crime. It can also be used to describe media outlets that see themselves in opposition to mainstream ("Fourth Estate") media. The term is entirely different in origin and meaning from "Fifth Column", which is used to describe subversive or insurgent elements in a society. It is also the title of a 1973 novel by Robin Moore about organized crime in America.

Nimmo and Combs assert that political pundits constitute a Fifth Estate.[2] Media researcher Stephen D. Cooper argues that bloggers are the Fifth Estate.[3] William Dutton has argued that the Fifth Estate is not simply the blogging community, nor an extension of the media, but 'networked individuals' enabled by the Internet in ways that can hold the other estates accountable. [4]

It has also been used as a title for publications. The American periodical Broadcasting once proudly proclaimed itself to be "The Fifth Estate" on its cover.[5] The Fifth Estate newspaper began in 1965 as an alternative bi-weekly publication of left-wing politics and the arts in Detroit, Michigan, as part of the so-called "underground press" movement of oppositional papers. It continues publishing today with editorial collectives in Detroit; Liberty, Tennessee; New York City; and La Crosse, Wisconsin. Its usage of the name was the first in the modern era and the editors have attempted to discourage other media outlets from adopting the name, but to no avail.[citation needed]

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation airs a newsmagazine called "The Fifth Estate" on its English language television network. The name was chosen to highlight the program's determination to go beyond everyday news into original journalism. And the title for the magazine show was also taken after a previously aired investigative documentary on CBC TV (January 9, 1974) on the CIA and espionage activities of the US and Canada entitled, "The Fifth Estate: The Espionage Establishment." see James Dubro

The Fifth Estate (band) formed in 1963 as The D-Men, but changed their name to The Fifth Estate in 1965 to indicate their part in the underground music movement and to indicate their musical stance as (if not directly in opposition to) at least "different" from and as an alternative to the top 40 musical scene of that time. In spite of this, through the 60s they had several minor hits and a major international hit (done in five languages) with "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead" in 1967.


  1. ^ Random House Dictionary
  2. ^ Dan D. Nimmo and James E. Combs (1992). The Political Pundits. Praeger/Greenwood. pp. 20. ISBN 0275935450. 
  3. ^ Stephen D Cooper (2006). Watching the Watchdog: Bloggers as the Fifth Estate. Marquette Books. ISBN 0922993475. 
  4. ^ Dutton, W. H. (2009), ‘The Fifth Estate Emerging through the Network of Networks’, Prometheus, Vol. 27, No. 1, March: pp. 1-15.
  5. ^ Asa Briggs and Peter Burke (2005). A Social History of the Media: From Gutenberg to the Internet. Polity. pp. 154. ISBN 0745635113. 

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