Then, as the dust settled, that hoary old standby, media bias, started rearing its ugly head again, especially in newspapers, where the reporters seemed to pull out style guides left over from the Tet Offensive. Quagmire! Failure! Evil imperialism! The brutal Afghan winter! Remember the Soviets!
Seeking opinions and news that didn’t seem to be outtakes from the Johnson years, many, many people stuck with the bloggers. And sometimes it seems that just as many people saw how much fun the bloggers were having and decided to get into the act themselves.
“Sgt. Stryker” (complete with a photo of John Wayne in full leatherneck regalia) is the nom de blog of a U.S. Air Force Mechanic (“to prevent being ‘called onto the carpet’ by anyone in my immediate chain of command.”). He says, “I stumbled across InstaPundit and thought to myself, ‘Hey, I can do this!’ I followed the Blogger link on InstaPundit’s site and set up my own weblog, thus killing two birds with one stone. I had a website I could point my friends to, and I could “talk back” to the news in a more quiet manner which helped ensure domestic tranquility”, with his wife, who by then was sick of the Sarge taking back to the news on TV.”
One reason Sgt. Stryker may have been so eager to give his views about September 11th and our efforts at payback, is “the impression the press tends to give of the military is of a monolithic and impersonal force, but if somebody stumbles upon my site, perhaps they can see that there are real, normal human beings who are doing all this stuff. When you read my site, you get a good idea of what some of us think and say when there are no reporters or Public Affairs Officers around.”
In contrast, Joanne Jacobs is an ex-San Jose Mercury columnist who left the paper in late 2000 to write a book about a charter school in San Jose. She started her Web log after being inspired by Mickey Kaus, Andrew Sullivan and Virginia Postrel (all three of whom were part of the first generation of bloggers, dating back to the Jurassic blogging days of the late 1990s.) Most of her blogging was on the state of America’s education system, until September 11th. Then a good bit of her coverage, shifted, not surprisingly, to the terrorists and our response to them. “I never meant to do a warblog”, she says. “I simply had strong feelings that my country had been attacked and should be defended-militarily and in the field of ideas.”