Hizballahs in the air…

March 8, 2005

Glen Reynolds posts on the big Hizballah pro-Syranian rally in Beirut, commenting:

And as means of political competition in the Mideast go, this is one that I hope we see more of. It’s better than truck bombs.

Hmm, protests not truck bombs, must be hard for these guys. Maybe we could give them both?


The First Draft of History

March 8, 2005

The blogosphere, not journalism, is now the first draft of history.

Bret Stephens (great journalist, ignoring the kerfuffle) observes in today’s WSJ:

The clichĂ© is that journalism is the first draft of history. Yet a historian searching for clues about the origins of many of the great stories of recent decades — the collapse of the Soviet empire; the rise of Osama bin Laden; the declining American crime rate; the economic eclipse of Japan and Germany — would find most contemporary journalism useless.

He suggests to the MSM:

It shouldn’t be too difficult to do better. Look for the countervailing data. Broaden your list of sources.Beware of exoticizing your subject… Above all, never forget the obvious: that the law of supply and demand operates in Japan, too; that the Soviet Union was a state governed by fear; that Iraqis aren’t rooting for their killers; that, if given the chance, people will choose to be free.

Sounds familiar? Right, the blogosphere! That anarchic mixture of facts, analysis, criticism and peer review. And, ranting, deception, moonbats and trolls. A ruthless market of thousands of sources, where quality tends to survive.

Back in 2003 in Virgina I got my information from just 4 sources: the (paper) WSJ, Fox News channel, and BBC & London Telegraph on-line. Then, visiting London during Iraqi Freedom, I watched on TV a BBC correspondent standing in front of a picture of the White House solemnly assuring the British public that US public opinion did not support the war. Which was a Big Fat Lie.

So, I dropped the BBC as a source and began adding new ones using Google & links from existing sources. If they added value & did not lie, they stayed, and so it grew. Now, over breakfast, I skim though not 4 but 30 sources.

One thing is needed for the blogosphere to qualify as that first draft – persistent archives. Maybe the top 20,000 blogs worldwide, recorded daily. Not too many terabytes and the archives are out there, just needs co-ordinating and disaster proofing. Now there’s an interesting business, if only I could figure out the revenue model…