Wednesday, February 15, 2006

in defense of the blog

Recently a friend asked me why I consider blogs and other informal types of media relevant and important. "You can’t believe what you read on those things can you? What if it's just some guy spouting off his opinions with few if any facts to back up his claims?" I informed my friend that most responsible bloggers offer evidence and links to other stories to support their own ideas. Most offer the option to post supporting or opposing comments. There are a few bad apples in any bunch but personally I want to get as close to the truth of the matter as I can. Most other blogs appear to share that goal.

My friend’s skepticism is built around the notion that traditional, mainstream media is some how more reliable and forthcoming with the facts and that they are seldom if ever censored or manipulated by other groups. I offer this example in response to that idea.

Here’s a story from MSNBC giving more information about Vice President Dick Cheney’s recent hunting accident. [UPDATE 2.16.2006 Link has changed again!] This is how the story originally appeared. Note the text in the red box. It says, Armstrong also told NBC News that she does not believe alcohol was involved in the accident. She says she believes no one that day was drinking, although she says there may have been beer available during a picnic lunch that preceded the incident. “There may be a beer or two in there,” she said, “but remember not everyone in the party was shooting.”

And below is how it appeared later this morning when I visited MSNBC. It had been wiped clean of the paragraph I quoted above.

If you click a link[UPDATE 2.16.2006 Link has changed again!] to the story you will see the updated version wiped clean of any mention of alcohol. I am not suggesting the Vice President was drunk. The whole incident was most probably an accident. In truth I don't really care. My point is that I find it interesting a major online mainstream media source like MSNBC would revisit an article like this and remove what appears to be a harmless comment.

If you believe bloggers are a shifty bunch out to skew public perception concerning the issues of the day and that mainstream media is the only credible source of information you ought to consider just how easy it would be for someone to mold your mind and shape the way you see the world. A paradigm shift will undoubtedly occur as the world peaks in oil production. There will be many with much to loose. It would be in their best interest to convince the general public that there is nothing wrong for as long as possible. I am not suggesting anything sinister or that the world is going to run out of oil tomorrow. Let me just say that those who get their information from the people in power will hear what the people in power want them to know; nothing more, nothing less. As for me, I'll continue to inform myself about my world in as many varied ways as possible. That seems only reasonable.

[UPDATE Link has changed again! Everything that follows has been added to this post 2.16.2006] Some of the original information concerning alcohol has been added back to the MSNBC story as well as new information concerning alcohol including the admission of Cheney that he had a beer at lunch.

The new alcohol section shown above in the red box is as follows.

A statement issued Monday by Kenedy County (Texas) Sheriff Gilbert San Miguel, who interviewed Cheney after the hunting accident, said that alcohol was not a factor in the shooting. "The investigation reveals that there was no alcohol, or misconduct involved in the incident," the sheriff said.

‘No comment’ on blood test
At a news conference Wednesday outside Whittington’s hospital in Corpus Christi, reporters asked hospital officials whether Whittington’s blood-alcohol level had been tested. The officials responded with a "no comment."

In a recorded, on-the-record phone call with NBC News, Armstrong said that beer may have been available at lunch that day. "If someone wants to help themselves to a beer," she said, "they may, but I did not see anyone do that," Armstrong says. She says she was not sure if there were beers in the coolers but wasn't ready to rule it out: "There may be a beer or two in there, but remember not everyone in the party was shooting," she told NBC News.

Armstrong added that she did not believe that Cheney or anyone else shooting in the hunting party had alcohol on Saturday before the hunting accident.

NBC News called the vice president’s office for comment four times Tuesday and Wednesday and asked whether the vice president or anyone in the hunting party had consumed any alcohol on Saturday prior to the accident. In an e-mail statement Wednesday to NBC News, the vice president’s press secretary referred NBC News to the Kenedy County Sheriff’s Department report on the incident. Later in the day on Fox News, Brit Hume stated that Cheney told him during a taped interview that he had had "a beer at lunch" before the hunting incident.

My big question is why did MSNBC remove the alcohol section in the first place and why did it take the outcry of observant citizens to get the facts replaced and reexamined in this newz publication?

If you want more Raw Story covered the scrub here. I'm on to issues more closely associated with relocalization.

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