Blog junkies drive news cycle (again)
Saturday, September 11th, 2004
Update: 9/11/04 The WPost says that “Conservatives hammered Rather and CBS yesterday on talk radio and Internet sites.” (Ahh, Internet sites.) The NYTimes mentions “Web logs… newspapers and… television competitors to CBS News” as leading the attack on the documents. (Hey! Shouldn’t that be “news papers” and “tele vision?”)
9/12/04 The LATimes admits blogs’ impact — headlining a story No Disputing It: Blogs Are Major Players — Netizen’s late-night post questioning CBS claims about Bush’s service spreads at warp speed — but does lots of handwringing about anonymous bloggers. (Will they unhandwring if the docs prove to be forged?) Then, apparently forgetting Atrios and Josh’s key digging and dishing that ousted Senate Majority leader Trent Lott, the article wrongly notes, “This was the first time, some said, that the Web logs were engaging in their own form of investigative journalism….”
9/13/04 On the opinion page of the NYT, William Safire dares type the b-word, crediting “alert bloggers” with leading the charge against CBS’s coverage of the latest TANG memos.
9/14/04 More NYT stylesheet fluctuations. “Blogs” (rather than “Web logs”) finally mentioned in article titled “CBS Offers New Experts to Support Guard Memos. Oddly, blogs aren’t mentioned as the arsonists who started this fire, but only:
a) as a source of solace to CBS; for example, a CBS defense “featured computer and typewriter specialists who had called or posted defenses of CBS on Internet blogs.”
b) a (previously unmentioned) resource for traditional publishers: “Bill Glennon, a technology consultant and I.B.M. typewriter specialist who had posted his thoughts on the memos on a blog and was quoted over the weekend in publications including The New York Times, said CBS called him Monday morning.”
9/15/04 WSJ in “Forgery Charges Could Damage CBS Credibility” on page B1: “What began as the buzzing of conservative bloggers on the Web has turned into a full-blown media story that uncomfortably raises the specter of lasting debacles such as CNN’s Tailwind scandal and NBC’s General Motors incident on Dateline.”
And Investor’s Business Daily quotes lots of actual bloggers in Blogs Take Lead Role In CBS Memo Furor.
E&P highlights some editor’s handwringing: http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000629751
I know it’s incredibly obscure substory, but traditional media’s ambivalence about the role of blogs in CBS’s seige and its gyrations around the word “blog” itself is, for me, fascinating. The bottom line for traditional journalists, editors and publishers — and you can see it playing out in all these stories in different ways — do you accept blogs as a powerful new media force that is here to stay… or would you rather ignore them and hope they go away?