The Right-wing Attack on the News
From the NY Review of Books
Last fall, when Wall Street Journal correspondent Farnaz Fassihi sent her friends a group e-mail that bluntly described the deteriorating security situation in Baghdad, right-wing bloggers accused her of bias and demanded her recall. The Journal quickly announced that Fassihi would take a previously scheduled vacation and so remain out of Iraq until after the US presidential election. (She has since resumed reporting from Iraq.) Earlier this year, when CNN president Eason Jordan claimed at the Davos summit that the US military was deliberately targeting journalists critical of the war in Iraq, bloggers exploded in outrage. Within days, a computer software analyst in Medford, New Jersey, had set up a new Web site, Easongate.com, to stoke anger against Jordan on the Internet. From there, the controversy jumped to TV, and soon after Jordan resigned.
Liberal bloggers have had some successes of their own. Partly as a result of their commentaries, for instance, the press has paid more attention to the so-called Downing Street memo of July 2002, in which Tony Blair and his advisers discussed the Bush administration's plans for war in Iraq. In addition to Daily Kos, prominent left-leaning blogs include Talking Points Memo, Eschaton, and, for commentary on Iraq, Informed Comment. While these sites are critical of the national press, their main fire is directed at the Bush administration. What's more, these sites are not supported by an interconnected system of talk radio programs and cable television commentary, and their influence therefore tends to be much more limited.