'You Say You Want A Revolution'

The Revolution Will Be Blogged” - Andrew Sullivan
In America we have a multitude of avenues in which to obtain our sources of information. With the onset of political coverage on the web, traditional media sources such as the major networks are seeing their ratings decline while weblog traffic soars. Advertisers are flocking to websites to promote their products instead of using the old methods. Why is this, and what do weblogs offer that others don’t? The answer is content and context.

While the major media will report the news they find "fit to print", millions turn to weblogs for the information they can't find anywhere else. And when they find these stories, it is often put into context by the weblog author. While the media claims that there is no bias, one doesn't have to look any farther than the admission that was made on ABC's The Note website on February 10, 2004:

"Like every other institution, the Washington and political press corps operate with a good number of biases and predilections.

More systematically, the press believes that fluid narratives in coverage are better than static storylines; that new things are more interesting than old things; that close races are preferable to loose ones; and that incumbents are destined for dethroning, somehow.

The press, by and large, does not accept President Bush's justifications for the Iraq war -- in any of its WMD, imminent threat, or evil-doer formulations. It does not understand how educated, sensible people could possibly be wary of multilateral institutions or friendly, sophisticated European allies.

The worldview of the dominant media can be seen in every frame of video and every print word choice that is currently being produced about the presidential race. "

With the bias clear to almost everyone, how is the typical American supposed to get the news that matters most? There is a lack of information reaching the people. Weblogs fill that void. The beauty of the medium is that the news goes out to the masses without being spun through editors who clearly have biases and want their ideology advanced. Sure, weblog authors have agendas and do spin as well, however; no one goes to these sites without knowing that. People often make the mistake of thinking that the "fourth estate" is without their own ideological bent.

One of the biggest hints that the admission by The Note is correct is that people often find news on weblogs that they have never heard anywhere else. Not reporting, or under-reporting is prevalent in America today. Stories such as the U.N. Oil for Food scandal, the removal of two ton's of uranium from Iraq , and the fallacies which are prevelant in Michael Moore's propaganda are among other reports that many have never even heard. How about a single good news report out of Iraq - when was the last time you heard one of those? This information is widespread among weblogs, yet coverage on the networks is non-existent. Most traditional sources of information have all but ignored them.

Not only can you find these stories on the web, but you can get the background information and find them put into context. The reason I write Perry on Politics is to inform the masses in a manner in which makes current events interesting to all. You don't have to be a media elite or take yourself too seriously to express your point of view and inform the public. If you want detailed commentary on the events of the day, you can read Andrew Sullivan, Josh Marshall, Powerline, Glenn Reynolds, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Totten, NRO's Corner, and Watchblog among many others. There is an endless supply on both the left and right to make your choices complete.

Start your day by getting your morning news from these weblogs, and then spend the evening in front of the major networks. It will truly open your eyes. What you hear in the evening might take a totally different perspective when you have the context that these weblogs have put into your consciousness. Getting your news from different sources not only adds context, it is the most logical way of getting informed. Information is power, and without hearing both sides of the issue you are unable to be sure that you know what is happening.

Weblogs are a new driving force behind informing and bringing context to the public, but they are not beyond reproach. It is the responsibility of the authors of these websites to maintain and fact check their work. Their information still requires validation. We must not allow the spread of rumor and false stories, that should be left to the networks. With the blogosphere growing to over 3 million websites, the revolution has begun.

Posted by Timothy Perry at August 1, 2004 8:13 AM