Thursday, December 25, 2008

All The President's Commentary

Saving my anniversary copy of All The President's Men for later, I sit up with the features and commentary disk. Throughout the pieces, the lions of the era -- Ben Bradlee, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein and Linda Ellerbe -- opine how today it could never happen.
They point out how much it takes in manpower and money to support investigative efforts. How if faced by the right-wing machine of talk radio and the Republican White Houses today how they doubted a media institution like the Washington Post could stand up against the corporate pressure.
I'm sitting here -- granted with a lot of cough syrup -- amazed at the lack of faith displayed.
Two key thoughts come to mind. First, a legacy media company does have assets that can be threatened. But they also have lawyers, reputation and numbers to resist. The New York Times certainly didn't back off when the Bush administration put the pressure on over the WMD stories.
Second, and more important, the blog and cloud have advantages that Woodward and Bernstein could not imagine. What exactly is a government or corporate entity going to do to a committed blogger? It's asymetrical warfare. The institution has the assets and reputation -- both is could lose. What's the blogger got? A computer? A rented apartment?
The cloud of bloggers can't be hit directly. It's like the Resistance Movement. Knock out one investigator, he's already shared his info with five others who can pick up the trail. Just ask Dan Rather, it grows like a virus.
Still, it was funny to watch the legends say it can't happen again. Tres pompous.

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