February 15, 2007

Here they are, with laptops, salami, and crackers...

It's the bloggers! They're covering the Libby trial.
All day long during the trial, one Firedoglake blogger is on duty to beam to the Web from the courthouse media room a rough, real-time transcript of the testimony...

With a yeasty mix of commentary, invective and inside jokes, Fire-doglake [sic] has seen its audience grow steadily during the trial, reaching 200,000 visitors and requiring an additional computer server on its busiest days — like Tuesday, with the revelation that Mr. Cheney would not appear....

Even as they exploit the newest technologies, the Libby trial bloggers are a throwback to a journalistic style of decades ago, when many reporters made no pretense of political neutrality. Compared with the sober, neutral drudges of the establishment press, the bloggers are class clowns and crusaders, satirists and scolds....

In the courthouse, the old- and new-media groups have mixed warily at times. Mainstream reporters have shushed the bloggers when their sarcastic comments on the testimony drowned out the audio feed.
I haven't had the time or inclination to follow the detailed blog coverage of the Libby trial, but I really would like to read some detailed coverage of the dynamic between the professional journalists and the bloggers who get to have so much more fun and show their emotions. Is the static between the two groups manifested only in the form of repressed, repressive shushing? The real reporters can't express much of what they feel about the bloggers, who must be irritating the hell out of them, can they? It wouldn't be professional. Plus, the bloggers would blog about it!

Well, Jane Hamsher is there, and she's the producer of "Natural Born Killers," a movie about media (and murder). I'd like to see the movie about life in that little courthouse media room. No, the script needn't depict bloody mayhem. I like a nice dark satire myself. Or a documentary (if it's not too late). But a romantic comedy would do just as well. Do you want the girl or the boy to be the blogger?

30 comments:

Roger said...

I have been very impressed by the bloggers who have covered the trial as well as the running commentary on FDL and Justoneminute. For those blog critics who assert bloggers can't do what reporters do, sorry--not so. Moreover, if you have followed the bloggers and then listened to Nina Totenberg on NPR or any other of the MSM (other than the APs Matt Apuzzo) it's absolutely surreal. Nothing I have read in the MSM about the trial seems to be consistent with what the bloggers are writing.

Moreover, the Libby trial has, IMHO, vitiated the any shred of credibility the Washington Press Corps had as to methods or accuracy.

Score one big one for the bloggers.

Bruce Hayden said...

This trial is turning out to be quite interesting from a reporting point of view. It is almost as if there were three trials going one, the one seen by the MSM, by the left side of the blogoverse, and the right side thereof.

It appears that the MSM reporters go scooting out right after the end of direct, missing Wells' cross where he invariably elicits that Fitz's witnesses didn't remember any better than Libby had. So, in the paper that night, you read about Fitz's devastating witnesses and all their devastating testimony, and on the right side of the blogosphere, you read portions of the cross-examination.

Bruce Hayden said...

Can't tell if Totenberg is just letting her politics show, her ethics, or a lack of ability. Rember this is the woman who was fired from the National Observer for plagarism (which is apparently good qualifications for the NPR legal analyst), and then married our late Democratic Senator, Floyd Haskall.

RogerA said...

Bruce--good point about three trials--the critical thing to me has been that both the left and right bloggers are recording what is actually happening, and it is quite easy to distinguish their opinions about what has transpired from the actual events (unlike some in the MSM who cant distinguish between reporting and opinion)

Alcibiades said...

The article, of course, being in the NYTimes, misses half the story.

Guess which half!

It just mentions Clarice who blogs at American Thinker and Just One Minute, but doesn't mention Just One Minute at all, where there has been stellar running commentary and 1000s and 1000s of posts.

And don't you love this comment: “It seems they can provide legal analysis and a level of detail that might not be of interest to the general public but certainly has an audience,” Mr. Snook said.

Snort, yes, assuming that getting a representation of both sides of the case, not just the prosecution, is of interest to some members of the public. You certainly don't see that much in the MSM.

Nor does it mention Jane Hamsher's unique contribution in coining the expression "rape gurney Joe".

Bruce Hayden said...

Roger

Yes, the difference seems to be that the MSM has taken it upon itself to filter everything in the trial through its (politically biased) prism for the benefit of its lowly readers and viewers, while the blogosphere has a bunch of attorneys leading the discussions of the detailed transcripts.

Alcibiades said...

Case in point about the MSM lack of discussion of half the story. At the moment this NYTimes FDL love-in is currently the top story at memeorandum.

So now the MSM has informed everyone about FDL?

And the other half of the blogosphere? Barely a word.

Zeb Quinn said...

"It is almost as if there were three trials going one, the one seen by the MSM, by the left side of the blogoverse, and the right side thereof."

There's a fourth, and it's the most important one: the trial the jury is seeing.

Bruce Hayden said...

Zeb,

And the beauty of the fourth trial is that it is the one that counts. But also, it is the one that will somewhat validate one of the others. Maybe, because the meme on the right seems to be that if Libby were being tried outside D.C., his acquittal would be pretty much guaranteed by now. But because it is D.C., it is problematic, regardless of the evidence. So, even if they lose, they aren't wrong.

Fen said...

Also, there was TruthOut, which insisted a Rove indictiment last spring. Are they still in operation?

JorgXMcKie said...

I second RogerA, and ZebQuinn(gosh, Ann gets A-to-Z coverage) about the trials. There is very little difference between left- and right-blogosphere about testimony, etc, only about the meaning of same, while the MSM is shredding any credibility it had in our eyes.

(By the way, when do you suppose the MSM will notice that, ideology aside, the Left blogosphere and Progressives don't like them any more than the Right does?)

And having been on a jury recently in a verrrrrrrry lengthy civil trial, I can attest that jurors aren't hearing what the lawyers think they are, and I'm betting they're not hearing what either side of the blogs think they are, euther.

Ron said...

I do like the RomCom idea; She has a blog named "MSM=Pr0n," and he's a talking head on The Daily National. They fall in love in the comments section on Kos. Hmmm...we need some wacky sidekicks, and meddling parents...Call John Cusack's agent... yeah, we have it in the can for the fall...

CF said...

I’ll put up Tom MaGuire’s and my work (and the work of the crew at JOM) up against the entire NYT,WaPo,NBC,NPR,ABC,CBS crew for accuracy on reporting this case.The condescension in this piece it seems to me is a cover for fright.(Don’t even talk about that idiot David Shuster who just pulled lies out of his hind end.

They were outclassed and out researched every time.
Only one MSM reporter was consistently good and fair in his coverage:Matt Apuzzo of the NYT.He represents the last of his kind--a knowledgeable, accurate court reporter

XWL said...

With a yeasty mix of commentary

Not only are there creams for that.

But you can get them over the counter.

(seems like an unfortunate word choice that could lead to far meaner comments along those lines than I've provided)

(And Ms. Hamsher would write far worse about someone she felt deserving of ridicule)

RogerA said...

Clarice--is that you?

CF said...

Yes, it is Roger..Can't you hear the faint bleating of the lambs?*wink*

sbw said...

Ann,

Grouping bloggers together reminds me of how racism was once defined -- ignorant overgeneralization. It is worth parsing out:

1) FiredogLake's live-blogging was an excellent public service [so long as you ignored the catty, ill-founded remarks in the square brackets] but the comments' tended toward dogmatic BDS (Bush-Derangement Syndrome) irrationality that added little insight.

2) Just One Minute was more interested in teasing out the facts and connections of the case, even if it eventually pointed towards Libby's guilt. The collective memory and intellect was focused, above all, on understanding -- systematically but genially dissecting BDS trolls who sought to disrupt the process.

That distinction made, in the end, the whole enchilada appears to be that Joe Wilson, a State Department has-been so obsessed by his own vanity that he outed his own wife and who a year earlier said uranium was sought by Iraq in Africa before he said it was not sought by Iraq, was used as a cheap, throwaway dirty trick by the Kerry campaign to dupe lazy pseudojournalists from the NYTimes, Newsweek, WaPo, Time, and NBC, which led Senate Democratic politics-is-a-dirty-game-players like Chuck Schumer, to push for a rabid, unfettered special prosecutor like Fitzgerald, who, in a previous life bested by attorney Scooter Libby, then broke all the DOJ rules in fruitless a hunt to bring down Dick Cheney, and whose investigation immunized the wrong people and didn't follow up the simplest leads that would have lead to Richard Armitage, the original leaker of non-covert operative Valarie Plame Wilson's identity, who likely leaked Plame's relationship to several journalists because of a turf war with the CIA, an organization that, like State, also has leaked like a sieve whenever the bureaucrats disagreed with the administration, and that, like State, has yet to be held accountable by the equally irresponsible Department of Justice.

RogerA said...

Dayum, SBW--you got the whole case in one complete (albeit long) sentence. Well Done!

vnjagvet said...

In the 50's and 60's and even the 70's, the NYT had excellent coverage of events like the Libby trial with expert, substantive commentary. It was generally in the inside of the news section and was quite dense. I bet Ann, CF, RogerA and others remember that, and probably were avid readers of that kind of detail.

Sadly, those days are gone.

Probably forever.

But folks like Clarice and others at the JOM and FDL blogs spent unpaid time filling in the detail that, in earlier years, the "Paper of Record" used to provide.

Fen said...

sbw: the whole enchilada appears to be that Joe Wilson, a State Department has-been so obsessed by his own vanity that he outed his own wife and who a year earlier said uranium was sought by Iraq in Africa before he said it was not sought by Iraq, was used as a cheap, throwaway dirty trick by the Kerry campaign to dupe lazy pseudojournalists from the NYTimes, Newsweek, WaPo, Time, and NBC, which led Senate Democratic politics-is-a-dirty-game-players like Chuck Schumer, to push for a rabid, unfettered special prosecutor like Fitzgerald, who, in a previous life bested by attorney Scooter Libby, then broke all the DOJ rules in fruitless a hunt to bring down Dick Cheney, and whose investigation immunized the wrong people and didn't follow up the simplest leads that would have lead to Richard Armitage, the original leaker of non-covert operative Valarie Plame Wilson's identity, who likely leaked Plame's relationship to several journalists because of a turf war with the CIA, an organization that, like State, also has leaked like a sieve whenever the bureaucrats disagreed with the administration, and that, like State, has yet to be held accountable by the equally irresponsible Department of Justice.

What he said [emp added]. Thanks for distilling it into one sentence.

Bruce Hayden said...

Don't know how SBW did it in that one almost readable sentence. You could tweak it a little with a fact here and there, but overall, an excellent one sentence explanation.

What is scariest to me about the whole episode is the realization that State and esp. the CIA are filled with functionaries who are more than willing to leak classified information to the press at the drop of a hat in order to harm a bureacratic enemy.

The CIA has shown itself as fairly incompetent in the War on Terror, being on the wrong side of the intelligence whenever it counts. Much of the field staff had been eliminated and they were trying to do their intelligence gathering from Langley. Of course, the State Department is filled with people who think that all it takes to solve any problem is to talk about it enough.

But here, we had the CIA sending an ex State department person to Niger, and doing it so badly that he wasn't even bound by a standard NDA, nor did he have to submit a written report. So, they made sure that everyone knew that it was another botched CIA deal. They weren't about to take the heat there for Wilson's NYT op-ed.

What is humorous about the entire affair is that the NYT led the charge for a special prosecutor, obviously due to a case of extreme BDS. And the MSM in general, and the NYT in particular, have been the big losers here. First, it turned out that there really isn't a federal press shield, and the 1st Amdt. doesn't do much to protect them from having to testify. And now, it turns out that they can't put their BDS aside long enough and devote enough resources to sit through the cross-examinations to get anything approaching a thorough and accurate reporting of the trial.

RogerA said...

Bruce has it right about the in-fighting. The whole sorry spectacle also makes one of my erstwhile heros, Colin Powell, look very bad--I think a strong case could be made that Powell used Armitage to clean up Powell's image following the UN testimony thing. Powell was smart enough to leave no fingerprints, apprently. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

Bruce Hayden said...

I still find it almost incredible that Joe Wilson could expect to go to Niger on a CIA junket, report back one way, and then go on the editorial pages of the NYT and actively mislead everyone about what he did there, what he found there, who sent him, etc. and have his wife's role in the whole thing be off limits. And yet, so many have bought on to the whole thing. Somehow, his public desire to see Karl Rove frog marched out of the White House in cuffs has turned into this.

CF said...

Of course, JOM 's MaGuire regularly pantsed the NYT's coverage of the case, including most recently the author of this piece of foolishness.

vbspurs said...

With a yeasty mix of commentary, invective and inside jokes,

It makes the guy sound like the Pillsbury Doughboy.

And having seen his photo...

Cheers,
Victoria

Joe Baby said...

Some bloggers have targeted entire newspapers (SmarterTimes, for example), but I love the idea of news-stalking some of these pampered, stilted reporters/analysts and showing how weak they truly are.

Whitehall said...

Reading JOM, we've coined a new word - "Clarice-fication" to describe how we get the REAL story of the trial.

However, this trial is ultimately a distraction from the deeper issues - yellowcake, US politics, and the French.

Q, Who mines, refines, packages, and ultimately invoices uranium from Niger?

A, The French government through their corporation, Areva.

I very dimly see a linkage between Joe Wilson, John Kerry, and the French involving protection of their nuclear business and it's shadowy dealings. Don't think that the IAEA will detect or prevent inappropriate supplies of yellowcake from going to undesirable parties.

Jay said...

I've been reading JOM since the Jason Leopold Rove indictment story. I also read FDL and Talk Left as well as MSM.

I suspect that the blogger/jorno interaction is one of utter non-comprehension. Partially I get this from comments that people at the Courthouse have posted at JOM; partially it is the two/three trial problem; however, critically it is the fact the bloggers on JOM are so much smarter than the journos.

Smart enough that, unlike FDL, they are quite capable of seeing that Fitz can score a point with a withness here and lose one there. Smart enough to read and understand the filings in the matter. Capable of parsing the evidence put into the Court.

Rather than endless "Bushco/Cheney/Rove"="War Criminals" JOM tends to look at the systematic way in which Judge Walton has ruled in favour the prosecution and how lame most of the evidence against Libby has turned out to be on cross.

The MSM folks are simply too dumb to report at this level of detail. and, as they pile up one bit of one sided reporting upon another, each time the defense does well this appears "as if for the first time".

Whether the journos are smart enough to realize that their lives are going to gradually be shifted to providing colour commentary on the Anna Nicole custody litigation because they are simply incompetent to cover anything more serious.

And, perhaps, the more stellar intellects will connect the dots between that sad fact and the current share value of the NYT or the readership and viewership declines across MSM.

Swopa said...

I really would like to read some detailed coverage of the dynamic between the professional journalists and the bloggers who get to have so much more fun and show their emotions. Is the static between the two groups manifested only in the form of repressed, repressive shushing? The real reporters can't express much of what they feel about the bloggers, who must be irritating the hell out of them, can they? It wouldn't be professional. Plus, the bloggers would blog about it!

See this post of mine at FDL for a little context. In my case, there wasn't much dynamic at all; I was there for four days, and I don't think anyone except the guy sitting next to me knew who I was until the end of the second day, when a journalist a few seats over looked around and asked, "Who's here from Firedoglake?" She had been following the live blog and wanted to confirm that we had both caught the same detail.

Scott Shane introduced himself to me a few minutes later and asked for an interview.

Sorry if that doesn't live up to your mental image. I did get glared at once by a reporter when I laughed too loud at Libby being caught in a lie, but as I say in the FDL post, the only habitual offender in the media room was a reporter, not a blogger. (In fact, I joined in the shushing a couple of times.)

Fen said...

Followed your link, not surprised that the media distorted/ommitted infro re bloggers. Every time a "journalist" has interviewed me or reported on something I'm directly involved in, they've gotten it wrong. Every. Single. Time.

I once had a NYTs reporter attrib my quotes as those of three seperate people. Lazy and innacurate. Even dressed me in a "hooded cloak" [baclava] and added a southern drawl to my [English] accent to authenticate the image.

So be thankful they didn't embellish you any further ;)