Sunday, January 16, 2005 - Closely watched media humbled

(via Dan Gillmor - Closely watched media humbled "When Internet commentators known as bloggers started pointing out the anachronism in the typeface of the documents purporting to show George W. Bush dodging his duties in the Texas Air National Guard, they weren't telling CBS anything it hadn't been told before. Emily Will, a document specialist in Raleigh, N.C., was one of the people hired to vet the documents. She sent CBS an e-mail three days before the broadcast, pointing out the problem. The producers ignored it.

"What gives bloggers their power is not their access to information but their ability to put it on the public agenda. After the broadcast, when CBS posted the documents on the Internet to back up its story, the hue and cry of the bloggers could not be ignored. ...

"The agonies of the old mainstream media are part of the process of adapting to this new reality. We still need strong national voices that earn our trust, and the mass media need not become obsolete. But they will have to understand that it is a different kind of game.

"When Edwin Lahey was Washington bureau chief for Knight Ridder, he liked to say, "The greatest virtue is humility, and the shortest route to humility is through humiliation." The old media aren't getting worse. They're just getting humble."