Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Bruhaha in the Media Mix

Jack Kelly comments:

Bloggers are entitled to mount Eason Jordan's scalp on their lodgepoles, next to those of Dan Rather and Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss), all of whom lost jobs because bloggers kept reporting and commenting on stories the "mainstream" media initially ignored, and (except in the case of Lott) would have preferred to go on ignoring.

But the key fact is not that Eason Jordan is now looking for work, but that bloggers were trying to uncover the truth about what he said, while "professional journalists" were trying to suppress it. For us, the "people's right to know"— which we invoke in self-righteous tones when we're prying into the private lives of people who are not journalists — takes a back seat to protecting the reputations of members of our club.

What happened to Eason Jordan — and what happened to Dan Rather before him — shows that we can no longer cover up the stories we don't want you to know about — and there are consequences when the cover-ups fail. That's why there is panic mixed in with our disdain.

We feel about bloggers the way Custer must have felt when he charged that village at the Little Big Horn, and discovered it was much, much bigger than he'd imagined it to be. The bloggers' wigwam is large, and growing. There is plenty of room on the lodgepole for more scalps.

Calling bloggers names won't change the fact that the internet is allowing huge amounts of fact checking, distribution of information, and a distributed network that speeds the news cycle up tremendously. Name calling when your hand is caught in the cookie jar isn't really a proper response.

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