Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

How the yeoman with a longbow killed network news

Tom Rosenstiel thinks, correctly, that network news has lost its authority. Powerline agrees but gives some deeper reasons: "We believe that the networks are still spinning and that the end of the era is the result of (1) the depths to which they are willing to sink and (2) the emergence of rival sources of information to point out these depths." I think these two points are essentially right. And I think the latter point--emergence of rival sources of information--is the most significant. We have known for a long while--remember Dan Rather in the ’80s claiming each and every night that the economy is going to collapse and that Reagan was in trouble?--that network news was badly slanted, but it is only in the last few years that rival sources of information (not only cable, but the internet) have emerged. Note how the latest mischief by CBS on the National Guard documents was immediately called into question by Powerline, Hugh Hewitt, and other bloggers. They can’t hide anymore. Here is Los Angeles Times’ recounting of how bloggers--less than an hour after the "60 Minutes" broadcast was off the air--ran with the story. But, of course, to get the L.A. Times story exactly right, you had better check with an authority like Powerline for clarifications and necessary additions. More, and with elegance, at the Belmont Club. "After all, mounted cavalry was the aristocratic weapon and the longbow that of the despised yeomen, the medieval equivalent of bloggers in their pajamas. It took Crecy, Poitiers and finally Agincourt to bring home the fact that the longbow threat was real."

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