John Leo

 Here?s the retroframing: Some mainstream media fell back on their traditional view of bloggers as inaccurate, upstart nobodies who dare to criticize their betters. Last week, for instance, the New York Times, which had looked the other way for two weeks, ran a story dripping with disdain. Headlined ?Bloggers as News Media Trophy Hunters,? it offered a simple-minded view of bloggers as wild conservatives out to collect liberal scalps. The story was laced with quotes assuring us that bloggers are a ?lynch mob? of ?salivating morons,? fanning fears of ?the growing power of rampant, unedited dialogue? on the Internet (as opposed to the completely reliable and unrampant reports in mainstream media).

 To make its case, the Times gave a sanitized account of Jordan?s comment on his panel and made no mention of two Democratic politicians, Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Christopher Dodd, who were present at the panel and told the press they were aghast at what they heard Jordan say. Dropping Frank and Dodd from the story upheld the theme of out-of-control conservatives descending on famously liberal CNN. Jordan?s explanations that he was talking about mistakes and collateral damage caused by U.S. forces was directly contradicted by Frank, an antiwar liberal, who told the New York Sun that Jordan had said ?he knew of about 12 journalists who had not only been killed by American troops but had been targeted as a matter of policy.? Nothing like this appeared in the Times.

  Why some in mainstream media keep depicting bloggers as inaccurate is a mystery. In the blogs I follow, accuracy is crucially important, and errors have to be admitted quickly, usually on the day of the mistake. Glenn Reynolds of suggests that mainstream media might want to hire some bloggers to check their stories before publication. This is a cheeky but polite reminder that bloggers are in the checking business and big media should get used to someone looking over their shoulder.

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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