“A very American thing”

William Bennett has an insightful piece about the decline of the MSM, the rise of bloggers (he generously mentions Power Line), and the 2004 election. The very fact that this piece appears as a commentary for Real Clear Politics speaks volumes about the growing influence of the internet as a news and commentary provider. Indeed, according to a Pew Research Center study cited by Bennett, 41% of voters say they got at least some of their news about the 2004 election online, and 21% relied on the Internet for most of their election news, nearly double the number in 2000.
Bennett also analyzes a phenomenon I had never considered — the way that the public’s growing relaince on the internet for news affects talk radio:

Speaking as a host of a three-hour talk show, it is evident that the public, which is checking assertions of fact as they are being made, is not sitting back and merely absorbing pontification. On talk radio, the lecture is fading, and it is being replaced by the interactive national seminar, where callers inform the host and audience as much as the host is informing listeners.

Bennett concludes:

This new media makes news, national priorities, and fact-checking a much more democratic thing, giving all consumers of news

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