While bloggers and those who follow them, are aware that, little by little blogging is starting to get the attention of those in and around the Halls of Power the effect of blogging stories hasn’t quite hit the mainstream public on the street.
One Canadian example being Loyd Axworthys’ reaction to bloggers running with his Winnipeg Free Press articles.
However, one sure sign that bloggers are about to be taken seriously by all facets of media and society is when Government agencies start to wonder openly how to deal with them.
Check this out:
Over lunch on the first day of the conference a representative from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defence for Public Affairs discussed strategies to counteract critical viewpoints of the non-lethal weapons programme in the media. She encouraged those present to keep repeating a positive message particularly when there was a negative story published, and not to shy away from commenting. If there was negative coverage about an important programme that could be derailed by the general public or congress then they would ‘really go after them’, she said. She indicated that officials would give increased information access to ‘bread and butter military journalists’ as opposed to the ‘60 minutes type journalists’ in return for more positive coverage. She also advocated a strategy of targeting military analysts working for various news media and getting them on message. She admitted, however, that they ‘still don’t know how to handle the bloggers’.
We’ve seen, first with the Gomery Inquiry and more recently with US Military documents that bloggers in foreign countries can make information available (either by accident, or not) that would otherwise be kept from the publics prying eyes.
I think this is one of the greatest strengths of blogging and in a way validates one of the more idealistic goals of the Internet. To share information without restriction or persecution. In Iran and Lebanon we see this manifested as protests against the establishment. In our mature democracies we see it as a tool to probe our governments and keep them honest.
This used to be the domain of the MSM… but as you can see in the quote above, they can be bought. Bloggers are a different, and potentially much larger and unwieldy kettle of fish.
(Cheers: Defense Tech)