Talking to myself about foreign policy, US politics, technology, &c.

The Benefits of Bias

As Alberto Gonzales is smoking his last cigarette and adjusting his blindfold in front of the wall, the camera fades out to a flashback on how he got there.

Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memohas done excellent reporting and consolidation of news on the egregiously political purge of US Attorneys that is about to lead to Gonzales’ execution.

Blogs don’t have large investigative reporter staffs. (Of course, these days neither do most papers.) But they have an ideological commitment to Right Wrongs, unveil the Real Truth, and fight The Man – all of which happen to always fall on the opposite side of the ideological divide, of course. Partisanship can be a real advantage on this.

Mushy media outlets spend their time obsessing over Anna Nicole Smith or (the breaking news yesterday) the shocking whale attack wave.

Sometimes, though, if they’re handed a story on a plate, media outlets can be awoken from their stupor, go run with it and bring it to the attention of the public.

So hooray for citizen journalists with an axe to grind; if they have the enthusiasm for the deep investigation required to ferret out truths that otherwise would have gone unchecked.

It can be self reinforcing, too. The often noxious blog PowerLine (fellow Minnesotans, I fear) got its initial boost from the investigation of the Killian national guard forged documents that brought down Dan Rather. I’d imagine that they have made a good amount of money from their efforts; Google AdWords can bring in a fair amount of cash to a high-traffic blog. (I’m just waiting till you tell all your friends before setting it up and making a fortune.)

So there’s a reward for those able to investigate and drive traffic. Go forth and investigate, all ye Woodwards and gold diggers.

It’s great being slightly ahead of the curve. Daily Kos and TPM echo the points above in the context of a really positive review of TPM’s work in the Columbia Journalism Review.

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