Some readers have expressed some confusion as to why BVBL would wade into a story regarding a Washington Post reporter and his unusual antics. Aside from similar past exclusives such as the story of candidate Jeff Dion’s proclivity for the perverse which have appeared here, this story has the added element of bringing out into the open the simmering animosity that has been developing between the Virginia blogosphere and the Washington Post.
After having a number of their stories scooped by enterprising new media outlets, the Washington Post has been pushing rather hard to cut off sources of information to Virginia bloggers. I’ve received numerous credible reports from several bloggers that they’ve gotten calls from candidates for elected office from Washington Post reporters warning them that if they gave information to bloggers rather than the Washington Post, the paper would refuse to cover the stories that were provided to the bloggers and withhold any further favorable media coverage. I’ve personally heard from a candidate who told me that if I ran a story that the Washington Post would not, who begged me not to talk about what I knew for fear of having a story pulled.
One of the key culprits in this attempt to silence Virginia bloggers is none other than Tim Craig. Now I can understand a corporate entity flexing it’s muscles to protect it’s interests to some degree. I may not like it a whole lot, but I’m enough of a realist to understand this happens. What I can’t quite get is this happening when this particular entity exists solely because of free speech rights and the legally protected free flow of information to the public that are added to our constitutional rights. That one of the Post reporters who upholds the supposed primacy of the Washington Post in all public knowledge also happens to be a pervert, only makes this more ridiculous. Just as “Borat” is unlikely to get a whole lot more time with former Representative Bob Barr, anyone who was duped by Sasha Cohen into inviting him into participating in a homosexual encounter by waving a fist-shaped rubber instrument in his face is unlikely to get a whole lot of stories from many members of our General Assembly.
If bloggers are supposedly beneath the legitimate attention of candidates, how is Tim Craig himself a more appropriate conduit of information from candidates to the public?
While many see this as simply a battle between a few liberal bloggers and a Washington Post reporter, this is so much more than that. When the Post tries to prevent newsmakers from talking to anyone but themselves, this fight is much wider. It’s not about whether the Post wants to recognize the growing influence of the new media, and it’s not about a few blogs whining about the lack of recognition they get from the traditional media. That is nothing but window dressing here. This is about the antics of one major player in the traditional media that certainly feels under pressure from a new media that is adept at bringing stories to the public faster, with more insight, and in a way that consumers of the news can interact with, and is reacting to that market challenge in a manner reminiscent of Joseph Stalin.
I’ve dealt with this garbage this entire election season, and I’ve had it. When some folks on the other side of the fence got sick of it as well, they helped provide me with the information needed for the first volley of return fire that they couldn’t shoot. If the Washington Post wants to continue to attack Virginia blogs in this manner, it’s going to a pretty ugly fight, as there’s lots of blogs out there should be ready to shoot back. The Washington Post may be the nine-hundred pound gorilla of metropolitan Washington news, but there’s a growing army of small new media news outlets out there which can continue to undermine the eroding credibility of this Goliath and severely undermine it’s profitability, one cut at a time.
Virginia blogs have the choice of cowering in the shadow of the Washington Post, or rising to the challenge of providing the Washington Post an object lesson on how to behave itself. Elected officials and candidates have a choice of standing up to this blackmail, which some already have done, or whimpering in obedience to the major regional newspaper which thinks it can dictate the norms of public communication.
Let’s see just how much courage is really out there. I’ll bet it’s considerable.
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