14 February 2005

Eason Jordans Hornets Nest 4.0

14FEB05 0753hrs

The sting from the Hornets swarm around Eason Jordans Comments has yet to subside.

The MSM is really funny to watch right now, as they are beginning to glance over their shoulder. Even the crew at FNC's Fox and Friends, kept saying "bloggers" with a twinge of paranoia in their voice this morning during an interview on Easongate. As if they might be next. They shouldn't have anything to worry about as long as they are diligent in their reporting and don't sound off with inane Micahel Moore/Howard Dean type statements. Just don't kick the hornets nest of the blogosphere.

Apparently they have been reading the MSM's take on it. The MSM seem to have dismissed Rathergate as a fluke. Now with Eason Jordans departure, a few of them might be beginning to recognize their is a new sheriff in town, and he just put another notch in his pistol grip.

Dismissing the blogosphere as a few kooks in pajamas is a huge mistake. While we may not have a large corporate structure, and advertising (yet); we do have what Chris Anderson describes as the "long tail", Edward B. Driscoll, Jr at Tech Central Station points out that the blogosphere too has a long tail.

". . . The Blogosphere's version of the long tail is its stream of tens of thousands of little known and under-publicized weblogs. They exist underneath such household names as
Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan, whose blogs can receive hundreds of thousands of visitors a week, and the lion's share of attention from big media (although Sullivan recently put his blog on hiatus).

And yet, as radio talk show host
Hugh Hewitt notes in his new book, Blog, underneath those well-known sites, there are about seven million more weblogs, according to a report done by the Pew Research Center (and also independently by myself, simply by crunching a few numbers). Technorati, the blog-oriented search engine, tracks over five million of them. Surveys show that less than 50,000 of them are updated daily, but as Hewitt observes, that's "the sleeper fact" of these reports. "From the big bang of blogging", Hewitt writes, "50,000 new virtual newspapers had been born."

In comparison, as of 1998, there were
1,489 daily "dead tree" newspapers in the US. Just to get a scope of what 50,000 daily newspapers means in terms of readership, let's look at a hypothetical weblog that's riding near the end of the tail. If it only has 100 readers a day, and there are 50,000 blogs with similar quantities of readership, that makes for a whopping 5,000,000 total readers. Five million readers would make weblogs the second largest newspaper group in the nation, behind Gannett, just ahead of Knight-Ridder and with twice the readership of The New York Times Co.

And it's actually greater than five million, of course, since there are many, many blogs with many more than a hundred readers. And some of the millions of "not updated daily" blogs actually have fairly consistent readership.

The vast majority of those weblogs go unnoticed by big media -- but there's another factor to them that is little understood outside the Blogosphere. They may have fewer readers than the big boys, but often those readers are much more passionate. And while tens of thousands of regularly updated blogs on the outliers of the tail also further fragment pop culture and discourse on news and politics, when groups of blogs with similar points of view unite and focus en masse on a story, they can generate amazing word of mouth. Even a small subset of the tail can be a surprising force..."

Michael Barone opines in the piece referenced below that the object of bloggers hatred is the MSM. I disagree with that to some extent. For serious bloggers, the blog is about having an alternative method of information distribution. And it particularly riles many in the blogosphere to see slanderous statements made by executives of the so-called MSM only to have them swept under the rug and ignored. We in the blogosphere will not tolerate it. It is unacceptable. What Jordan is purported to have said at Davos is well documented by eyewitnesses and patently absurd, and his and CNN's spinning it will not resolve it. There is a tape of what he said.

Release it.

Too many in the MSM, and especially in local television and print markets around the country are just plain lazy, caught up in their own "celebrity", and mistakenly assume that foisting their own world view off on their audience is an acceptable substitute for doing the job of journalist or reporter.

NY Post has a brilliant thinkpiece from Michelle Malkin on the subject that should be read by anyone who is interested even slightly in the blogosphere, and where it is going.

. . The ad hominem hysterics of Jordan's defenders stand in stark contract to the way the vast majority of bloggers approached the search for truth in this matter. Veteran journalist and blogger Jeff Jarvis (buzzmachine.com) got it right when he said on CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday: "We didn't want his head — most of us didn't. We wanted the truth." We're still waiting...It seems clear from a number of eyewitness accounts, including Rep. Frank's, that while Jordan may have backtracked, he did not completely back off — rendering his Friday night explanation that he "never meant to imply U.S. forces acted with ill intent" disingenuous at best.

What Hath the Blogosphere wrought?

Is a question posed by Michael Barone in a really good piece at RealClearPolitics. It may be too soon to tell but, it looks to have helped Bush and the Republicans more than the Democrats.

. . . Going into the 2004 election cycle, just about everyone said the Internet was going to change politics. But no one was sure how. Now we know. . .When four American contractors were killed in Iraq in April 2004, dailykos.com wrote: "I feel nothing over the death of the mercenaries. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them." . . . As Dean says, "I hate the Republicans and everything that they stand for." Hate. But Bush hatred was not enough to beat Bush in 2004 -- Democratic turnout was up, but Republican turnout was up more -- and doesn't seem likely to beat Republicans in 2006 and 2008. The left blogosphere has driven the Democrats into an electoral cul de sac . . .The right blogosphere's greatest triumph came after CBS's Dan Rather on Sept. 8 reported that Bush had shirked duty in the National Guard and the network posted its 1972-dated documents on the Web. . . Within four hours, a blogger on freerepublic.com pointed out that they looked as though they had were created on Microsoft Word; the next morning, Scott Johnson of powerlineblog.com relayed the comment and asked for expert views. Charles Johnson of littlegreenfootballs.com showed that the documents exactly matched one he produced using default settings on Microsoft Word. CBS defended the documents for 11 days, but finally confessed error and eased Rather out as anchor. MSM tried to defeat Bush, but succeeded only in
discrediting itself. . . "

The Senate already has gone Nuclear and Daschle did it; now, how do we decontaminate the mess he left?

This article in the WashTimes by Charles Hurt and Stephen Dinan shows a finessed approach in Frist's likely upcoming use of the "Constitutional Option" to restore the Senates minority faction to order.

There was a sensational book published in the '70's by a "Captain X" about the airline indutry. In one tale he related how he learned as a new Captain to utilize his assets sparingly when he went back to the cabin to deal with an unruly and drunk passenger, he was assaulted. After that he learned to get involved only after he had sent the flight engineer and then the first officer.

Perhaps Frist read this book, he seems to be holding his fire until he sees the whites of their eyes. Probably a smart move given the minoritarian structure of the Senate.

" . . . Asked about the so-called "nuclear option" of changing Senate rules to bar filibusters against executive nominations, Mr. Frist said that would be a "constitutional option." "The nuclear option is what they did to me last year when they changed the precedent," he said....But although he warned in the opening session that he is ready to employ the option, he said last week that he won't necessarily do it at the first filibuster against a judicial nominee. "The specific decision has not been made," he said. "I've got some pretty clear alternatives to use and, again, I'll just continue to appeal to the other side."....Mr. Frist, who has announced that he will not run for re-election in 2006, would not speculate on his political future and the possibility of a 2008 campaign for
president. . . "