Liberal Bloggers Reaching Out to Major Media
NYT’s Jonathan Glazer covers an interesting mini-trend, “Liberal Bloggers Reaching Out to Major Media,” in today’s edition.
Even as online pundits criticize traditional news organizations as slow, biased and technologically challenged, a group of bloggers is trying to use old-fashioned telephone conference calls to share their ideas with newspaper and television journalists. The bloggers, who describe themselves as liberal or progressive, say the conference calls are intended to counter what they regard as the much stronger influence of conservative pundits online. Bob Fertik, president of Democrats.com, the host of the two calls so far, views them as a step toward getting their reports out to mainstream news organizations.
While there is no way to know precisely who dialed in, reporters from news organizations including CBS, The Washington Post, Newsweek, MSNBC and The National Journal asked for a call-in number, according to one participant.
The conference call is a small development in the complex relationship between bloggers and the mainstream media. Traditional journalists largely ignored bloggers when they emerged, but have begun to take note of their influence as online commentators assumed roles in news stories like the flaws in the report by “60 Minutes Wednesday” on President Bush’s National Guard service and the comments by the former CNN chief, Eason Jordan, about the military’s treatment of journalists in Iraq. As more news emerges online, or what is reported offline becomes fodder for further investigation, the lines between those operating in the world of online news and commentary and those at the traditional media organizations have become more blurred and sometimes less confrontational. Some news organizations now credit blogs that originate stories, extending to them the treatment other media receive. Some bloggers, in turn, argue that they should receive all the legal privileges that traditional journalists often have, including the right to protect news sources.
I have no problem with bloggers trying to get noticed in the mainstream press or with activist bloggers banding together to get their message out. The irony here, though, is that the story is treating these blogs as “real” journalists precisely for something which is not “real” journalism. These conference calls represent bloggers acting as political operatives, not journalists. Dan Rather jokes aside, this is a rather odd juxtaposition.