When Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell published the false claim on January 15 that Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff gave money to Democrats, the paper got a loud, swift and public lesson in the new realities of online interactivity and instant accountability. It was like watching a woolly mammoth being hauled shrieking and dripping with ice-age detritus into the twenty-first century.
This lesson came in large part from the blogosphere, in the form of comments made on the newspaper’s web site, and in posts made to political weblogs, such as DailyKos, Eschaton, and my own blog, Firedoglake. The collective daily readership of the largest political blogs now runs in the millions. We are news and politics junkies, instantly able to recite the last six jobs of Senate staffers, and the names of reporters who cover every beat. We follow politics in real time, and have zero tolerance for the kind of sloppy mistake Howell made. Hundreds of us swarmed to the site and immediately made our feelings known.
Go read the rest.