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Media Notes Extra: The Mad Lib

We were very excited to blog about Howie Kurtz's latest investigation of the "blogosphere," fronted on the WaPo's Style section today. A glance at the print version over the shoulder of the person in front of us at Starbucks promised a look into how Senator Dick Durbin's remarks became a controversy "fueled by a chorus of outrage from conservative columnists [and] bloggers." Then there was something about "establishment media" used to be able to dictate what was news, and then there was a parallel example from the left and then something about Trent Lott and then oh, it all operates without rules and, well, the person in front of us clearly didn't finish reading it.


Ha, we thought, we'll read it online, where, surely, it's already been pounced upon by these "bloggers" themselves! Except: No, can't find it. It could be us, or it could be the massive hangover, but if you find it on the WaPo website, do tell. In any case, we were heartbroken, and you probably are too. But never fear! You may not be able to read today's Kurtz piece on the influence of blogs, but you can read last month's. And we're guessing that with some judicious editing, you won't be able to tell the difference.

Our attempt after the jump.

UPDATE: It is available online! Hallelujah! Please still read our post though.

What [Dick Durbin said last week] has become a burgeoning controversy among bloggers and media critics. This triggered widespread denunciations of [Durbin] by conservative bloggers, who have also criticized the mainstream media for not reporting the remarks.1 The blogosphere, with its lightning speed and rough-edged sense of justice, seems to be claiming more victims more quickly. 2

Glenn Reynolds of InstaPundit.com sees a parallel to Sen. Trent Lott's initial refusal to apologize for saying at a 2002 birthday party for Strom Thurmond that the country would have been better off if the onetime segregationist had won his bid for president. Many reporters present did not deem the remarks newsworthy, but news outlets jumped on the controversy after bloggers stirred things up, leading to Lott's resignation as majority leader. 3

Many bloggers are careful and thought-provoking, others partisan or mean-spirited. But they are here to stay, and by and large they provide a healthy check on those who once monopolized the news agenda. Already hemorrhaging readers and viewers and losing public trust, the mainstream media are being battered hourly by the surging denizens of the blogosphere, accused of raw partisanship, rank incompetence and conspiratorial coverups.4 The rise of the blogosphere remains one of the most exciting communications developments in decades, giving ordinary folks the chance to bite back at a media establishment widely viewed as arrogant. 5

Not everyone is a fan. Former CBS executive Jonathan Klein complained on Fox News that "these bloggers have no checks and balances." 6 Is the rise of crusading bloggers a healthy development, as many media analysts maintain, or the creation of a new Wild West with no rules or responsibilities? 7 "You want to pay attention to what legitimate critics are saying out there," Nagourney says. "In journalism, you screw up from time to time. But it's become so toxic -- attacks for the sake of attacks." 8

Hugh Hewitt disagreed: "The MSM [mainstream media] missed this story, and whether it is out of sympathy for one of their own, agreement with all or part of the implied charge, or simple laziness, the assessment of their incompetence should be thorough as well." 9

1. Eason Jordan, Quote, Unquote, Feb. 8, 2005

2. In the Blogosphere, Lightning Strikes Thrice, February 13, 2005

3. In the Blogosphere, Lightning Strikes Thrice, February 13, 2005

4. The Forecast: Overheated, Gusty and Increasingly Bloggy [not online], February 21, 2005

5. For Every Story, An Online Epilogue, Monday, April 18, 2005

6. After Blogs Got Hits, CBS Got a Black Eye, September 20, 2004

7. 2. In the Blogosphere, Lightning Strikes Thrice, February 13, 2005

8. For Every Story, An Online Epilogue, Monday, April 18, 2005

9. In the Blogosphere, Lightning Strikes Thrice, February 13, 2005

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