Ed Driscoll

What Did The Times Know And When Did It Know It?

In the New York Times’ recent reactionary grumble on the growing power of the Blogosphere, Katharine Q. Seelye wrote:

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