Individual newspapers and television stations generally reach a wider audience than individual blogs, and Mr. Eggers touched on this lopsidedness when he explained on his Web site why he was reprinting Mr. Kirkpatrick’s e-mail messages: “It’s the only remedy commensurate with the impact you enjoyed with your original piece.”
But the power of blogs is exponential; blog posts can be linked and replicated instantly across the Web, creating a snowball effect that often breaks through to the mainstream media. Moreover, blogs have a longer shelf life than most traditional news media articles. A newspaper reporter’s original article is likely to disappear from the free Web site after a few days and become inaccessible unless purchased from the newspaper’s archives, while the blogger’s version of events remains available forever.
And this poses a big problem for a medium previously quite comfortable with reshuffling history to suit its version of a narrative whenever it was politically expedient to do so. (The past is infinitely malleable, Winston.)
In what is promised to be a five part series, three parts of which are currently online, Marc Schulman has a long, detailed look at The New York Times’ shifting editorial stance on Iraq. Part One begins by noting:
Except for a brief period during 1994, The Times