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Sunday, January 4, 2009

It's Not Left v. Right, But Blogosphere v. Mainstream Media

The rise of the blogosphere owes to two developments: (1) the technology of the internet which allows individuals to be heard by a potentially unlimited audience without filtering by traditional news organizations, and (2) the agenda-driven mainstream media, which has driven tens of millions of conservatives and liberals to the internet for information. Two recent blog posts, one from the political right, and one from the political left, illustrate that the news wars no longer are simply left v. right, but blogosphere v. mainstream media.

From The Right

CNN recently ran a story on the eight politicians who fell from grace in 2008. Seven of the politicians were accused criminals or philanderers, the eighth was Sarah Palin. The internet website NewsBusters exposed this outrage:
How does Sarah Palin fit in with these criminals and scum? Well, truth is, she does not. Yet CNN placed her among these criminals anyway and termed her a disgraced politician! The only thing "exposed" here is CNN's hate for Palin, its leftist agenda to destroy her and its extreme bias.
What is significant is not only that NewsBusters ran the story, but that NewsBusters was tipped to the story by another blogger, Conservathink. So a blogger tips off a media-watching website about mainstream media bias, and CNN is exposed again. Not that CNN didn't manage to do damage, but at least it didn't go unnoticed, and CNN probably lost some of its few remaining viewers.

From The Left

No issue drives the mainstream media agenda quite like "climate change" a/k/a "global warming." Yet slowly, the religion of global warming is being exposed as questionable at best, a hoax at worst. And this exposure is not just coming from the right side of the blogosphere, but also from the left. At the Huffington Post, there is a devastating blog entry (brought to my attention by NewsBusters, again), which characterizes Al Gore's position on global warming as "the biggest whopper ever sold to the public in the history of humankind."
For failing to mention the 2007 Antarctic maximum sea ice record a single time, I also accept your apology, Mr. Gore. By the way, your contention that the Arctic basin will be "ice free" in summer within five years (which you said last month in Germany), is one of the most demonstrably false comments you have dared to make. Thank you for that!
So a left-wing blog site posts a blog entry questioning mainstream media orthodoxy, and it is publicized by a "right-wing" media-bias watchdog. Maybe we can find common ground!

The Result

Mainstream media news outlets no longer drive the agenda, although they still have tremendous influence by sheer din of repetition and mass exposure. It is not surprising, as Instapundit notes, that mainstream news organizations express more anger at bloggers than at websites such as Craigslist, which actually take revenue away from print media.

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