<   Prior Home         Share Blog Bloke     Share Blog Bloke Tips       Share to Twitter       Share to Facebook       Share to Twitter       Share to Google Plus       Share to LinkedIn       Pin this       Get Updates            
        Next   >  

Rathergate, The Real Story


Bloggers Gain Influence

These are exciting times fellow bloggers. The Bloke woke up over his morning coffee to find the news still abuzz over the blogsphere’s torpedoing CBS and Dan Rather’s story about President Bush’s military records.

News sources are finally acknowledging what Blog Bloke has said all along. That blogs have elevated from a cyber-niche of lonely geeks into a powerful political tour de force:

“This is an exceptional case study of the power of the blogs,” said Daniel Drezner, a political scientist at the University of Chicago and co-author of “The Power and Politics of Blogs,” a research paper published in July. “A couple of the blogs raised factual questions — it was like firing a flare. Then the mainstream journalists did the heavy lifting. It was highly symbiotic.”

Drezner’s study reports there are between 2.4 million to 4 million blogs, a number that is expected to explode to 10 million in 2005. Most are idiosyncratic and apolitical, but those with a pronounced political bent have repeatedly triggered real-world news events.

Bloggers are already credited with keeping afloat the story of Sen. Trent Lott’s admiring comments about the now-deceased Sen. Strom Thurmond and his 1948 segregation-based campaign for the presidency, until the mainstream media swarmed all over it. They also nurtured controversy about Kerry’s Vietnam record alongside veterans opposed to Kerry. But the CBS story is the biggest coup to date.

“This was a story tailor-made for bloggers,” said Henry Farrell, the co-author of the research paper. “They’re not investigative reporters and don’t have the resources of the media. But there are lots of talented people out there who can work on the story for 20 minutes. It was distributed intelligence in which a story can be unpacked into thousands of little bits.”

“I don’t think this story is comparable to any other I’ve seen,” said Tom Johnson of Power Line. “A major news story, produced by a gold-standard news operation in the midst of a presidential campaign, turns out to be a complete and utter fraud. As recently as five years ago, it would have stood up.”

“We can’t be too quick to equate the bona fides and journalistic chops of a blogger with that of any mainstream media organization,” says Christopher Klein, a former executive vice president of CBS News. “The bloggers do not have any system of checks and balances. My issue is simply when we start elevating these journals of opinion to the level of newspapers of record, so to speak.”

Other critics have complained that blogs can traffic in rumor, such as a claim in February that Sen. John Kerry had had an affair with a former intern.

Responding to the criticism, Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee behind the Instapundit blog, says the online community acts as its own ombudsman to sift fact from allegation.

“The check on blogs is other blogs,” he says. “Because blogs operate in a reputation-based environment, nobody minds a bias. But they expect you to be honest about your facts. And if you get a reputation for not being honest about your facts, people pay lots of attention to you.”

Jimmy Orr, Bush’s Internet director, last summer called blogs “very instrumental. They can lead the news. And they’ve been underestimated.” Bush campaign communications director Nicole Devenish last week told Time magazine that “blogs are what talk radio was a few years ago.”


But Drezner and Farrell said the bloggers’ moment in the sun may be brief, as the novelty of what they do fades and they become co-opted by mainstream journalists and politicians. “They’re going to get sucked into the system,” Farrell said. “Politicians are figuring out how to absorb them, so they may eventually fade a bit.”

*Blog Bloke takes this one step further. Rather (no pun intended) than being absorbed, what you will find is a convergence of blogging and journalism. Simply because the technology is too powerful to be ignored by industry, and too empowering to be abandoned by the public as a passing fad.

Written September 22nd, 2004 by | 5 Comments | Filed under: Miscellaneous Blog Tips ,

Thanks for Sharing     Share - enable java in your browser Share to Twitter            

Did you enjoy this article? Keep up to date with Blog Bloke Tips the moment it's published by email. Your Privacy is Guaranteed and will not be shared with anyone.


Keep it real with Blog Bloke Thanks for reading the original Blog Bloke. You can read more about me here. Contact me if you have any questions, tip requests or if you would like to be a guest blogger. Keep it real every day and subscribe to the newsfeed, share with friends or follow me.

    Subscribe to the Newsfeed     Share to Twitter     Share to Facebook     Share to Google Plus     Pin this     Share to LinkedIn


Got an opinion? Let's be real and start a conversation:

It's your turn to tell Blog Bloke what you think, ask a question or suggest another blog tip. Don't forget the comments policy and I'm looking forward to reading what you have to say.

There are 5 Comments so far to “Rathergate, The Real Story”

  1. I believe in the power of blogging, and I am doing my best to make sure I can look my kids in the eye and tell them the truth when they ask “how did you let that happen?”.

    If we can band together and shine the light on Rather, imagine what we could do with all the rats in politics?

      Reply   ·   Share Share Blog Bloke Tips  

  2. I beleive in the power of blogging and twitter.

      Reply   ·   Share Share Blog Bloke Tips  

  3. and MYSPACE….

      Reply   ·   Share Share Blog Bloke Tips  

  4. Blogs are having a huge impact in business, politics and social movements. IMHO we are just scratching the surface of what is to come. I think we will see more and more “Blog Stars” arise and just like in traditional media, what these select few have to way, will have a HUGE impact.

      Reply   ·   Share Share Blog Bloke Tips  

  5. I remember Rathergate a decade ago http://t.co/zb7CL8oi and the wars between journalists and bloggers. Some things never change.

Share     Share this article with your friends

Subscribe to Better Blog Tips Newsfeed   SUBSCRIBE to Bloke Bloke's Articles (Newsfeed)

Subscribe to Better Blog Tips Newsfeed   Subscribe to only Comments for this Article | TrackBack URL

You can also use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>