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  • Rather Awkward Exit

    Posted by James R. Rummel on June 15th, 2006 (All posts by )

    There have been many predictions about the impact of blogging. Some people have claimed that this hobby of ours (la blogga nostra?) will replace main stream media some day. Eventually there will be no more TV news shows, no more newspapers. Everyone will get their fast breaking news from the blogs.

    I think this prediction is not very realistic, if for no other reason than bloggers usually write about items they find in the news instead of getting out there and nailing down the story by themselves. But there is no question that blogs have done a great service to this country.

    The scandal known as Rathergate showed just how blogs can be used to keep traditional media sources honest. Forged documents were held up as evidence in a story that would have seriously damaged President Bush chances to win the 2004 election. If not for bloggers, history would have been altered.

    Rathergate is the single great blog success story so far even though it is two long years in the past, but it has some very long legs. The Washington Post reports that Dan Rather will probably be forced into retirement some time this year.

    It could very well be that the scandal which bears his name has nothing to do with the end of Rathers career. I do note that the author of the WaPo story keeps mentioning that piece of old news, though.

    One of the executives at CBS had an epitaph for an old anchor who spent his career in the service of one of the traditional media giants.

    The CBS executives hope a dignified exit can be arranged and that Rather can find a second career, perhaps in cable, the sources say.

    Or, I suppose, he could start his own blog.

     

    4 Responses to “Rather Awkward Exit”

    1. ed in texas Says:

      It’s not that the story has tremendous staying power; it would have died quickly if the media had just walked away from it. It’s kinda like a spot on the highway where somebody hit a skunk. A week later you can’t see it but you can still smell it.

    2. Anonymous Says:

      “Rather has said several times that “my best work is still ahead of me.”

      I would have to agree, since he has been a partisan hack for the last 3 decades.

    3. aaron Says:

      Not to mention that blogs and blog culture seem to be taking on characteristics of big media as audiences grow. Guess it’s just human nature to pander to an easy audience.

    4. Fûz Says:

      I was a charter subscriber to Brill’s Content, paying for the full year’s issues upfront, never to receive them because the magazine cratered after only 5 or so issues.

      It appealed to me because it promised to offer press criticism, something no other outlet at the time could even articulate. At about issue #3 or so, it became clear that Brill’s Content was no more critical of the press than Dan Rather. It offered some insight, but no stinging rebuke of the howlers, no inquiry into the motives behind the stories nor the spiking of stories. The hagiography of Mo Dowd clinched it for me.

      Its passing was not lamented and I chalked the loss of money to experience.

      I look to weblogs because one function they serve is what I had hoped Brill’s Content would: press criticism. In that respect, my favorite weblogs are not intended to replace the media. They cannot. Instead they add value to or quantify value of the media.

      Weblog cannot be replaced by the media running blogs of their own, any more than Congress can regulate itself, or NASA can both promote and regulate space travel., or the IRS can operate their own court system to resolve disputes with itself.

      Uh, wait a minute . . .