Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Distributed Reporting
That's what I think the phenomena surrounding the "Rathergate" CBS mess with the "fake but accurate" memos should be called. The same principle that makes SETI@home work, computers across the country working on a little piece of the puzzle, then recompiling it with the answers, is what made CBSRather's "scoop" crumble. Pajama wearing bloggers picked apart the "scoop" according to what they knew about: some folks understood typesetting, others knew something about Guard Memo Writing Protocol, others highlighed sketchy connections between partisan "leaks". Finally, some bloggers added it all together and, voila: Dan Rather LIED! (Or, at least it's clear that he was totally duped by forged memos.) While it always makes me grin to see the clearly partisan Rather have egg on his face, the most interesting thing about the matter is the distributed reporting that occurred. It's probably been happening for some time now, this distributed reporting, but it really became clear (to me, at least) with this issue.
PS: I know that this is way behind the curve in terms of "timeliness" but I've been thinking about this for a while now (ask Sean!) but just haven't had the time to post.

No comments: