Though David Harsanyi hints at the possibility, I’m not going to dissect every paragraph of his column in today’s Denver Post.
After taking compromised conservative columnist Armstrong Williams to task for his pay-off from the US Department of Education and recounting Dan Rather’s narrow escape “after a weak-willed report cleared him of any politically motivated bias,” our friend David Harsanyi examines the “New Media,” and the Rocky Mountain Alliance in particular.
The RMA and other Colorado bloggers are acquiring more attention in the daily papers because the state’s Republican Party has started to appreciate the possibilities of blogs and the new media. Invitations to participate in a private House strategy meeting and a private post-address press conference with the Governor today are just the latest signs of this growing respect.
Playing the devil’s advocate, Harsanyi asks the skeptical question and leaves a couple prominent “new media” voices to answer:
Now, you may ask yourself, why in the world would the governor or the Republican leadership put stock in what a blogger – or, as Jonathan Klein, a former executive vice president of CBS News, so smugly put it, a “guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing” – has to say about the future of Colorado?
“What they understand is the importance of the new media,” says Clay Calhoun, an RMA member whose blog had 8,000 unique visitors in November.
“What they’re interested in doing now, as they are the minority, is searching for new ways to communicate with the constituents and leverage this new media.”
Radio pundit and author Hugh Hewitt, author of “Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That’s Changing Your World,” writes that people are looking for “new ways to communicate ideas because the old media simply can’t be trusted anymore.”
Me? I work for the “old media.” Despite what my fellow conservatives may think, I’ve never been told by management to avoid a topic, nor have they “assisted” me in crafting my opinion.
Nor have I, as some of my … um, fans may suggest, been paid off Armstrong Williams-style. I think No Child Left Behind is good legislation, for free.
Guess I’m just a sucker.
The existence of RMA and rise of new media give the public more options. That’s always positive. It doesn’t diminish the work of journalists – unless they’re sloppy or on the take.
No doubt, some blogger will dissect this column, paragraph by paragraph, and refute everything I’ve written.
I could dissect… but I won’t. More and more journalists are recognizing the rising collective power of the blogosphere. It frightens some – like Dan Rather and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Nick Coleman. But others, like Post columnist David Harsanyi – who took time in the summer to sit down and chat with RMA members and then wrote an excellent column on our friend Jim – are more ready to embrace the new dynamic and continue producing the quality journalism that has kept them above the critical scrutiny of honest bloggers.
The quoted star of the column, Clay Calhoun, has already posted on Harsanyi’s column – having since dashed off to the Capitol building in his pajamas to join 4 other RMA members to cover the Governor’s State of the State address.