I have to agree with Peggy Noonan that the biggest loser of the 2004 campaign was the mainstream media. She has some kind words for bloggers like us:
Who was the biggest loser of the 2004 election? It is easy to say Mr. Kerry: he was a poor candidate with a poor campaign. But I do think the biggest loser was the mainstream media, the famous MSM, the initials that became popular in this election cycle. Every time the big networks and big broadsheet national newspapers tried to pull off a bit of pro-liberal mischief–CBS and the fabricated Bush National Guard documents, the New York Times and bombgate, CBS’s “60 Minutes” attempting to coordinate the breaking of bombgate on the Sunday before the election–the yeomen of the blogosphere and AM radio and the Internet took them down. It was to me a great historical development in the history of politics in America. It was Agincourt. It was the yeomen of King Harry taking down the French aristocracy with new technology and rough guts. God bless the pajama-clad yeomen of America. Some day, when America is hit again, and lines go down, and media are hard to get, these bloggers and site runners and independent Internetters of all sorts will find a way to file, and get their word out, and it will be part of the saving of our country.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune, on the other hand, had mixed feelings about our role:
Also on the Web for the first time in this campaign were the bloggers. Much of what they passed off as political analysis was little better than rumor-mongering and garbage-peddling. But some of them performed heroic jobs fact-checking the candidates, challenging the traditional media and, in the latter days of the campaign, acting as an early alert system for voting problems.
Somehow, I suspect that when the Strib credits bloggers with “challenging the traditional media,” they don’t mean us. I suspect they mean Kos and Atrios accusing the media of being too conservative. But at least we fared better in the Strib’s eyes than the biggest heroes of the campaign, the Swift Boat Vets:
There was quite a lot of bad and ugly, typified by the Swift Boat Vets for Truth and the Sinclair Broadcasting Group’s effort to broadcast a smear as “news.” To a lesser extent, Michael Moore was guilty of the same thing with his conspiracy theories in the film “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
No one has ever explained how broadcasting footage of John Kerry and playing his own words can constitute a “smear.” And only at the Star Trib are Michael Moore’s utterly fictitious conspiracy theories the “same thing,” only not as bad as, the Vets’ efforts to place John Kerry’s record before the American public. But I doubt that the Strib’s slurs will do anything to dampen the Vets’ enjoyment of the election results.