July 27, 2002

JOHN LEO WRITES THAT BLOGGERS ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE:

When the New York Times ran a front-page report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan (“Flaws in U.S. Air War Left Hundreds of Civilians Dead”), bloggers descended on the article like ants on a picnic. . . .

Hundreds of civilians dead? Don’t that many civilians perish in nearly every war? Stuart Buck at www.stuartbuck.blogspot.com asked:

“Has there ever been another war in history where civilian casualties were so few that journalists could track down virtually all of them individually?”

On his site, the Politburo, blogger Michael Moynihan noted that the Times’s source for the toll of 812 dead was Marla Ruzicka, identified as a field worker in Afghanistan for Global Exchange, “an American organization.” What the Times didn’t say, Moynihan wrote, is that Global Exchange is a far-left group opposing globalization and the U.S. military. . . .

Keep an eye on bloggers. The main arena for media criticism is not going to be books, columns, or panel discussions, and it certainly won’t be journalism schools. It will be the Internet.

Yep. More and more, you see bloggers’ opinions explicitly mentioned in opeds — and beyond that, you see major media (as Leo points out) quietly backtracking in future coverage after bloggers expose their errors.

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