Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Notes on the Effects of the Blogosphere

Mary Katherine Ham notes that in some ways, the blogosphere has reduced the control of the MSM's bottleneck on information to something like that of a small town paper. She writes:

There’s a big debate right now in the blogosphere about whether the CBS investigation was a whitewash. It does have the mark of Tom Sawyer’s paintbrush on it, but the important part is that everyone knows that. Rathergate revealed and the investigation has reinforced that CBS is no longer in charge of the truth. They can “defend” and “conclude” until Rather runs out of pithy expressions, but it won’t change what everyone knows—that the documents were fakes and CBS and Rather were motivated by political bias.

That’s what happened when the Internet suddenly turned national media into a small-town newspaper, subject to the concerns, criticism and accountable to the abundant knowledge of its own readers. When I was a green reporter, that knowledge was a blessing. Without it, I could have wasted a lot of ink and dignity defending facts that everyone in town knew were wrong-- all because I refused to listen to my critics.

The same will happen to mainstream media folks who don’t wise up and understand that bloggers are just what news coverage needs to get better, and it’s already happening. Dan has the luxury of loping away from the anchor desk with his illusions partially intact, but others must stay. If they’re smart, they’ll pull up a seat on the bleachers, right next to their readers, and start learning. If they don’t, as Dan would say, the media world is gonna get hotter than a goat’s butt in a pepper patch.

Read the writing on the wall, guys. Read the whole thing.

Some people may mourn the democratization of the press, but yet it should lead to greater accountability. It will be interesting to see how it all develops.

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