September 14, 2004

Closing the Gap Between the First World and the Third

Matthew Yglesias thinks the blogosphere is a little too quick to slap itself on the back for breaking Rathergate.

I'm not quite sure I grasp all the blogosphere triumphalism surrounding the Killian memos. After CBS ran the story, the conservative side of the 'sphere came up with dozens of purported debunkings of their authenticity, almost all of which turned out to be more purported than debunking. Then after a few days of back-and-forth, traditional reporters at The Washington Post came out with a more careful, more accurate, more actually-debunking story.
I havenít paid enough attention to this to know if Matthew is right or not. I've been impressed with some of the work on this I've seen in the blogosphere, even if some or even much of it is off-base. But letís say, for the sake of discussion, that Matt is mostly right.

Even so. The blogosphere still deserves credit.

Nelson Ascher writes for a Brazilian daily newspaper in Sao Paolo. And his Sao Paolo paper, which usually lags behind First World media, wrote about Rathergate one day before the Washington Post did. The reason?

If I was able to come out with the story in my paper one day before the WaPo, thatís not because Iím a big-shot investigative journalist and this hasnít been due to my personal merits or hard work either. It simply happened because Iím more attuned to the blogosphere than the average big media guy in the US or Europe. The merit obviously belongs to the blogosphere and, in this specific case, to the people of Powerline, LGF, to Instapundit, Roger Simon etc. But, thanks to them all, I have helped my paper publish the story one day before the WaPo. This, in the big mediaís pecking order, is no mean change. In the realm of news thereís no First and Third World anymore.
Cool.

And that's beside the fact that the Washington Post may never have taken a look at this if the blogosphere hadn't first hammered it.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 14, 2004 7:08 PM
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