A Role for Bloggers After All – Part II

Part I is here.

Connecting the Dots

Bloggers are connecting the dots and bringing out stories the press does not see or will not cover.

At the convention I was almost completely isolated from incoming information other than whatever I am covering at the moment. I just did not have time to follow the news the way I usually do. This is not like my usual blogging environment, with time to read the morning news and several other blogs. I grab some news off of the internet. I get information from talking to other bloggers. This is significant.

A LOT of what I usually write about comes from detailed following what’s in the media, (and what the Right is printing and saying.) There was almost no opportunity for any of that at the convention, and I can see how in the Washington or New York top-level journalist life there is little opportunity either.

So – special role of Blogging #2 – we bring important stories to the attention of the readers, and our readers include media and political circles.

During the convention Pakistan announced that it had captured a major al Queda figure. You and I know, because we read blogs, that The New Republic and others had previously carried the “July Surprise” story that the White House had ordered Pakistan to capture high al Queda officials during the convention, for entirely political reasons. But when CNN covered the story of the capture during the convention there was no mention of this at all. I read a few blogs complaining about CNN’s failure to cover this most important aspect of the story, but with my convention experience at the time, it occurred to me that this was likely because they just didn’t know that the “July Surprise” had been predicted. This is not an excuse, because it is their job to know. This failure is something they should be compensating for, but the transformation of news from a public service to a commercial venture has brought with it certain shortcomings, apparently including less than adequate research departments. And, as we all know (because we read blogs and are so much more well-informed than almost everyone else), these shortcomings are being used to the political and financial advantage of certain politicians and their cronies.

This is where we come in. Bloggers are connecting the dots. Bloggers are keeping important stories alive.

Another aspect of this comes from thinking about my years in tech marketing. Tech editors can make or break a product, so marketers are always pitching product stories to them. They receive hundreds of press releases and calls, and you have to put a great great spin and cast your story a certain way to even get a foot in the door toward getting a story. I can see that news editors would have the same problem. The UFO Society, and the people who can prove that the Trilateral Commission faked the Apollo moon project using movie studios, are in line in front of us, telling the editors how important their story is. So when someone shows up with a story about how we shouldn’t trust voting machines that have no way for the voter to verify that their vote was correctly recorded, the editor will probably roll his or her eyes, thank us, and have a good laugh at our expense.

But bloggers are the reason the voting machines story is reaching the mainstream. We kept at that story and kept at it and kept at it. And through the “marketplace” nature of weblogs, the story spread, and spread, and was discussed, and we found new ways to explain it, and eventually it rose to prominence. It rose up in the marketplace of the weblogs. Other stories, like the Trent Lott story and the Bush National Guard Service story were repeated and repeated in the weblogs until they just couldn’t be ignored by the national media.

Bloggers are making up for some of the current shortcomings of the major media by connecting the dots and bringing important stories to the public’s attention.

End of Part II of my post-convention blogging report. More to come.