Test case

Stan Brown thinks that the MSM “will simply refuse to address the [Eason Jordan] story no matter what the blogosphere does.” Stan argues that “bloggers cannot force the MSM to address an issue any more than talk radio could a decade ago. Talk radio reached tens of millions of Americans during the Clinton administration, but that didn’t stop the MSM from stonewalling critical stories” such as Juanita Broderick’s.
Last month at a Heritage Foundation event, I argued that the MSM no longer controls the agenda. In response to a question by Noemie Emery, I even opined that the Juanita Broderick story would receive much wider coverage today, thanks to the blogosphere. If Brown’s prediction proves correct, I may have to plead guilty to blogger triumphalism.
In my presentation at Heritage, I relied mostly on the fact that bloggers helped force the Swiftvet story onto the agenda in the face of initial MSM resistance. But there are distinctions between that story and Jordan’s. First, the Swiftvets didn’t rely entirely on the blogosphere. They had the benefit of veterans’ networks and they also employed campaign ads and a book. Second, they presented their story in the context of a presidential election. Because voters were due to pass judgment on Kerry, the MSM had to consider coming to his defense once the story gained legs. Unfortunately, the public doesn’t get to vote on Jordan. Thus, it’s not clear why, at any point, the MSM would feel compelled to deal with this story. Third, it is one of the MSM’s own who is in the dock this time.
Thus, the blogosphere finds itself carrying extra weight in this race, and it will be instructive to see how we do.


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