The mainstream media failed fundamentally in the run-up to the Iraq war (something I argued way back in early 2004.) Of course, if you believe, as I often do, that most corporate journalists simply see their job as endorsing establishment power, rather than challenging it, then the acquiscience before Bush administration lies over WMDs was just a job well done.
So to hear one of the doyens of the American media, Helen Thomas, blame bloggers for the rush to war is misplaced:
What I really worry about is that I think the bloggers and everyone, everyone with a laptop thinks they’re journalists. And, they certainly don’t have our standards. They don’t have our ethics, and so forth. There’s a deterioration. Reporters laid down on the job in the run up to this [the Iraq] war.
Many bloggers are indeed amateurs without the “standards” of the mainstream media, but these so-called standards failed miserably at a time, post 9/11, when journalists and media owners were all-too-happy to toe the supposedly patriotic line and support whatever government spokespeople told them. Their lack of courage had nothing to do with the rise of the blogosphere.