I do not believe in "what came first, the chicken or the egg?" at least not while analyzing the blowback of the blogosphere. In the case of the "blog", the need (the chicken) came first. The dearth-of-objective-news vacuum was huge and the Blogosphere came to the intellectual rescue.
In the past, back in the day, the country turned to the big 3 (networks) and got their news fix. Years passed, cable emerged and so did cable news. The leftwing-agenda-pushing-bias network news outlets and CNN, propelled the FOX news channel to the forefront much to the consternation of the LLL (left lunatic libs), the media pundits and the chattering class. But America didn't care if they were being made fun of. They were tired of their psyches being clubbed into submission like baby seals. But even now, Fox falls far short (but more on that later).
The impact of the Blogs became painfully evident when The Blogosphere changed the course of the election. The Swift boat boys, Powerline's and Charles Johnson/Little Green Footballs' expose of RATHERGATE........ IMHO changed the course of human events.........if not for the blogboys, the chances are pretty good that Kerry/Annan/Chirac would be in the White House. Pretty frightening when you think about it.
And as much harm as the net can do (i.e. spreading the deadly poison of radical islam, disseminating critical info on bombmaking, nuclear site info etc.), it serves a much greater good. The 2004 presidential election was an indication but just the tip of the iceberg.
The American people are searching for truth in a mad, mad, mad world. And there is veracity in the blogosphere. Unlike the MSM (mainstream media) the blogs have tens of thousands of fact checkers, specialists - all in the their area of expertise. Any fallacy, misrepresention or out and out lie will be "outed" by the bloggers. The blogosphere maintains the highest standards. They answer to a higher authority - us. Vetted by all Americans, blogs are forums in which to correct and speak out. No inaccuracy goes unpunished, inhabited by lawyers, doctors, engineers, sanitation engineers, scholars, construction workers - well, you get the idea.
This week is a fine case in point.................with all the wild historical events and we are talking sweeping historical change across the globe, all you had to do was turn on any of the news stations and it was Michael and Martha, Martha and Michael (Jackson and Stewart). Fox particularly abandoned their role as the alter ego of the "common man" and went totally tabloid (actually that is a stain the tabs are somewhat undeserving of - at least they cover a wide range of celebrity driven drivel). The problem with FOX is that Ailes has drawn the wrong conclusions from his success. Ailes believes his feel good, happy face, "upbeat" approach to news is what keeps the fffffffolks coming back. And while a smiling face is certainly a pleasant change from the dray cups at CNN, it doesn't address the actual reason behind it's appeal. It is the center right that attracts us. Brit Hume attracts us. Republicans tend to be more half full people vs the Dem's half empty, "the sky is falling" mantra. FOX has always equivocated on Israel and the Palis. Who gave as much fair and balanced TV time as FOX and O'Reilly to Hamas and Stanley Cohen, their vile Jewish lawyer, than FOX? This was a critical failing which was overshadowed by everything else (Bush, the elections, Judeo-Christian values), but their quiet anti-Israel posturing will bite FOX should they continue to pursue this perversion of "fair and balanced", this moral inversion (imagine Bill OReilly, it's 1942 and in the guise of fair and balanced, O'Reilly softballing this one to Joseph Goebbels "C'mon Joe, no spin here, is there anything really sinsiter behind the final solution, or are the Jews being overly sensitive?".
Just this week, the only international incident to get play were the terrorists. The coverage of the Hezbollah protests completely drenched the airwaves. What about all the sweeping demonstrations* marking this week in history? Never before seen democracy and freedom marches* taking place in a part of the world where such things are an anathema.
And there you have it. If the media and the all news cable channels continue to abdicate their roles as responsible disseminators of information, then the onslaught will continue and the blogosphere will replicate the media landscape of Lincoln, crowded , loud, opinionated, electric and diverse. Yes, wildly diverse.
Because the MOST SIGNIFICANT shift in the news paradigm is the role that media plays. No longer sufficient in merely bringing us the News, the American public is choosing its disseminator, its sifter, filter, prism and demanding thorough and complete journalism but one with a moral compass because a press is prejudicial when they are unable (or unwilling) to distinguish between terrorists and the victims of terror.
*Morrocans march by the thousands for Freedom (click)
Pakistani women against punitive rape (click)
Kuwait women rallying for the vote (click)
The Cedar Revolution: Lebanon tries to take back its Sovereignty