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Monday, May 17, 2004

What I read this weekend

Was an article in the FT, but Christopher Caldwell (one of their columnists) that referred to blogs as a matter-of-fact part of the process of public opinion. The article can be found here (paid subscription). It was in the Weekend FT. Talking about public anger over the Nick Berg execution there was this paragraph:

Two factors account for the public fury. First was the tendency of newspapers to equate the beheading (a policy meant to terrorise) with the prison abuse (a crime being handled by a court martial), and even to describe the former as "revenge" for the latter. Two weblogs, andrewsullivan.com and Instapundit, complained that the media's refusal to release the execution video as they had the torture photos constituted spin and deception. Second was the identification by the CIA of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist mastermind, as the man who carried out the decapitation. Mr al-Zarqawi provides the strongest link between Osama bin Laden's Afghanistan (where he operated a chemical weapons training camp) and Saddam Hussein's Iraq (where Mr bin Laden was allowed free passage and advanced medical treatment).

Note that there is no explanation of what weblogs are, or of the specific weblogs. It relies on assumed knowledge, and does not marvel at their success, but simply acknowledges it as any article might acknowledge any influential set of articles or stories. All in all I take this as good news.

Of course, this sort of story can so far only be applied to the US. The US is like a huge gravity well here - all other blogging revolves around it even when it is not from it. Still, perhaps in the not so far future some UK blogs will attain that level of status. Of course, they would probably be centre/centre-left, which is not such a good thing. Oh well.

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