NYT reported Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel, or so goes the old saw. For decades, the famous and the infamous alike largely followed this advice. Even when subjects of news stories felt they had been misunderstood or badly treated, they were unlikely to take on reporters or publishers, believing that the power of the press gave the press the final word.
This is why the news media got the idea that they could say whatever they wanted, not to report the news, but to try to change public opinion to twist thing the way they wanted to see them, and no one could stop them.The Internet, and especially the amplifying power of blogs, is changing that. Unhappy subjects discovered a decade ago that they could use their Web sites to correct the record or deconstruct articles to expose what they perceived as a journalist's bias or wrongheaded narration.
Like Dan Rather and the fabricated National Guard story he tried to push to affet the 2004 elections.But now they are going a step further. Subjects of newspaper articles and news broadcasts now fight back with the same methods reporters use to generate articles and broadcasts - taping interviews, gathering e-mail exchanges, taking notes on phone conversations - and publish them on their own Web sites. This new weapon in the media wars is shifting the center of gravity in the way that news is gathered and presented, and it carries implications for the future of journalism.
Hopefully back to where they report the news, not just what they want people to think.Just ask "Nightline," the ABC News program, which broadcast a segment in August about intelligent design that the Discovery Institute, a conservative clearinghouse for proponents of intelligent design, did not like very much. The next day, the institute published on its Web site the entire transcript of the nearly hourlong interview that "Nightline" had conducted a few days earlier with one of the institute's leaders, not just the brief quotes that had appeared on television.
The institute did not accuse "Nightline" of any errors. Rather, it urged readers to examine the unedited interview because, it said, the transcript would reveal "the predictable tone of some of the questions" by the staff of "Nightline."
Good for them.