It’s worth pointing out the spectacularly poor timing of Lemann’s essay, since he complains how “It ought to raise suspicion that we so often hear the same menu of examples in support of [the blogosphere’s]
achievements”– he cites Rathergate, Lott-gate– only days before Reuter-gate explodes. And this latest instance of blogosphere reporting also undermines Lemann’s larger point. It would be unfeasible for mainstream media outlets to devote pages and pages of editorial space or airtime analyzing news photos, or aggegrate the blogswarm effect of different blogs bringing together different pieces of the puzzle within hours. More key, most of the top news outlets totally *depend* on wire services for their own reporting, so they actually have a disincentive to undermine their credibility.

(Mysteriously, two days after it broke, none of the major news outlets have even mentioned the Reuters scandal.)

So that would be my question to Lemann: does he think Reuters-gate is a worthwhile form of investigative journalism? And why does he think major outlets have been so slow to pick it up?

I actually think that the Reuters scandal has gotten some mention (Charles Johnson was on CNN talking about it), though I’m still spooling back up today after being offline for a week. But the general point’s a good one, and I stand by my statement that a similar piece of fakery by a blogger would have gotten a lot more attention from Big Media.

Nick: If you’re reading this, any answers to WJA’s questions?

UPDATE: Blogometer is giving it attention.