Political Bloggers – the new paparazzi

They lurk in the bushes. They camp out in cars. They roam the sidewalks. Camera in hand. A-List celebrities know they are there. They know they are waiting for a moment of weakness. Just a glimpse that they are human, or not quite as glamorous as their publicists present them. When that moment strikes anywhere outside their home, I know they gulp hard, hoping not to hear the sound, or see the burst of a camera flash.

When it happens, there is a price to be paid. The celebrity has to deal with the price of any consequence. The photographer gets paid the price commensurate with the popularity and interest in the star, and the vulnerability captured in the picture.

In the world of political blogging, bloggers are the new paparazzi and the traditional news media reporters and columnists are the new targets.

There have been millions upon millions of blog entries. I know at www.icerocket.com, we have indexed at least 6mm pages ofblogs. I don’t know the number of political bloggers, or the number of pages posted, but I can tell you this, every single one of them with any aspirations of popularity is looking for a way to stand out. The way that happens is to knock one of the gatekeepers off their perch.

Whether it’s been newspapers, magazines, TV or radio, the opportunities to reach an audience has been limited to a finite number of local and national gatekeepers. Just outside those gates, knocking on the door, trying to be heard for the past 100 or more years have been wanna be Woodward and Bernsteins. People with information, ideas and concepts that they know the populace would respond to have been turned away, again and again.

Its payback time . The bloggers are here, and they are ready to knock down the gates and get their pound of flesh. The traditional media has no idea what is about to hit them.

In every major conference, at every major speech, sitting at tables in restaurants, there is going to be a blogger or podcaster with microphone, PDA, Videophone, laptop or paper and pencil in hand. Listening. Taking notes. That information is going to be transmitted to and from a blog entry and placed in the hands of “the readers”.

Unlike celebrities who hear or see the flash of the camera, the gatekeepers don’t know they are there. Blogging in plain site. Questioning everything.

Dan Rather and Eason Jordan were just practice laps. Let me assure you that from now on, EVERYTHING said. Every video shown. Every picture presented from any traditional media source is going to be scrutinized. The level of scrutiny will make your editors blush.

The gatekeepers are under attack. I’m not saying its right or wrong, but it is the new reality.

Fortunately, there is a way to deal with the paparazzi. There is also a way for the gatekeepers to deal with the bloggers. A simple way.

Recognize them. Give them respect. Celebrities can’t keep photographers out of their bushes no matter how hard they try. The gatekeepers won’t be able to keep the bloggers out either. Instead they should invite them in.

Not 1. Not 2. But several from both sides. Bring in the more popular blogs that like you, and the same number of those that don’t. Give them as much access as you give the NY Times, Wash Post. Don’t muzzle them, let them write

I will tell you exactly what will happen next. The blogs you invite in will still try to trip you up, but they will quickly morph and act like traditional media. When you screw up , they will tell you when it happens and give you a chance to comment and respond. They will like being on theinside and adjust to try to stay there.

The bloggers left on the outside will continue to try to trip you up, but will spend more time and energytrying to tear down the bloggers who got inside the gates. Jealousy is a bitch.

It will work, try it.

If you don’t, call George Clooney and Britney Spears Federline for advice. You are going to need it

m

37 thoughts on “Political Bloggers – the new paparazzi

  1. The blogs impassion, worry, disturb, challenge. Certain scorn them, others hold them for the prophets of a new revolution of information.
    In fact, because they untie the languages of the ordinary citizens, they are a formidable tool for the freedom of expression. In the countries where the censure is queen, when the traditional media live in the shade of the capacity, the bloggers are often the only true journalists. They are the only ones to publish independent, even if it means information to displease with their government and sometimes with the risk of their freedom.
    Reporters without borders designed this guide to help them, by useful recommendations and technical easy ways, to preserve their anonymity, to circumvent the censure – by identifying the technique best adapted to each situation -, but also to launching a blog under good conditions, to make known it – by optimizing its referencing on the search engines -, and to sit its credibility via the respect of some ethical and journalistic rules.

    Comment by cars -

  2. ANTONELLO DE PIERRO E CARLA SOLARO SI SPOSANO
    ANTONELLO DE PIERRO E CARLA SOLARO SI SPOSANO
    Dopo essere stati beccati al mare in atteggiamenti ambigui, ecco che il direttore di Italymedia.it Antonello De Pierro e la nota attrice tintobrassiana Carla Solaro si sono sposati, e per convolare a giuste nozze hanno scelto Aosta, la citt natale di lei, con una festa per pochi intimi in un noto pub della citt alpina. Visto che la Solaro stata la protagonista del Calendario Italymedia.it 2007 evidentemente il set fotografico fu galeotto.

    Per vedere il servizio fotografico
    http://fotogossip.tripod.com/carlasolaro/carla_solaro_antonello_depierro_si_sposani.htm

    Comment by paparazzo1 -

  3. Bloggers are already getting arrogant just like the traditional media. They experience a glimpse of power and influence and they are drunk instantly. Many of them ramble on as if they are brilliant and experts on every topic imaginable because some people read their opinions.

    Comment by runescape money -

  4. Calling political bloggers the media wave of the future is like calling the Weekly World News the same. Facts bear little importance and even worse than wanting to make a name for themselves, every single one of these political blgogers are also trying to push a specific political left-wing or right-wing agenda.

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

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    Comment by good -

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    Comment by DAnne Burley -

  8. Go to the site http://www.reclaim-americas-heritage-now.org… if you will. I am mad as the mad hatter. I’m sick of the politicians and right now the democrats for the BS their pulling and blaming the Republicans. I just can’t see why both sides won’t do what they were elected to do. I am PI**ED with the present fillibusters..and Senator Reid goes to a junior high school and says things he should not have yeah..like a lawyer saying or asking things and expecting the jury to erase it from their minds. That’s a bag of pure bull. On my site I have used some news sources but a lot comes the mouths of statements that certain Democrat said in thee past…and now it’s Kerry time FLIP_FLOP! I have much on my site and it’s not media hype. I present my feelings as I have that right …YET! I hope you pass the URL on.

    Comment by George W Krauss -

  9. Every MSM story about blogs have related a politically motivated story. Rather, gannon, Jordan (Eason not Michael) and Howard Dean all have involved politics. However, these stories aren’t salacious or vindictive, the bloggers have acted as watchdogs and done the public a service.

    Comment by Jason Rosenberg -

  10. I finally got fed up with the ‘Katie Couric..”let me show you some leg”…Show’ ! and the ‘high school-monotone, “let me answer the question I asked you myself” journalist’..guest interviews she gives. Don’t get me wrong , I think she is a fine woman and I don’t dislike seeing nice legs either , but the Today Show has really ‘downsized’ itself of late.

    Comment by Jim Huffman -

  11. http://sevencastles.blogchina.com
    A Shanghai blog featuring news and views of great interest

    Comment by Zhang Liping -

  12. Mark, Thanks for the ‘props’ on political blogs. We, too, think they are a changing force in how people receive news and information and one in which the mainstream media should embrace rather than ‘ignore and hope it goes away’ as is often the philosophy of change.

    Comment by PinkDome -

  13. Good advice, Mark!

    In recent days it’s been even more interested to watch the blog community garner/command the traditional media’s respect. The times they are a changin’…

    http://www.andertoons.com

    Comment by Andertoons -

  14. Whether or not thoes in power listen will depend on that almighty Number- How many people actually read any particular blog, to wit, The size of the audience. Without a large audience, a very large one, a blog is just another electronic scrap of paper flying in the breeze.

    My blog, (just a week old now) has not generated a single comment! Considering that Internet traffic is now in the multi-millions, that’s an extraordinary and sobering truth.

    The conclusion is that some blogs, have no power, none at all.

    Remember too that the paparazzi in the end need the established press to publish their work. Woodward and Bernstein worked for one of the top three newspapers in the world.

    Comparing that to my sublime, but readerless blog, “The Internest Egress”, the powers that be wouldn’t let me clean Bob and Carl’s guest bathroom, let alone raise a concern over the possible ramifications of denighing my blog a press pass.

    I suggest therefore, that ‘Bloggers United’ not line up for those press passes just yet. But if they should, they’d be wise to bring an umbrella. Maybe a sleeping bag too.

    Robert Warlov
    Blogger of
    “The Internest Egress”

    Comment by Robert Warlov -

  15. Is there the ability to trackback here? I can’t see it.

    Great post. It took a few twists and turns so I wasn’t sure where you were going. I view blogs mostly as entertainment. It’s hard to view them as a news source when 90 percent of their content is riffing (or pilfering) articles and photos from newspapers and TV/Radio.

    The other 10 percent is self-promotion by the way. That said, as a newspaper reporter (not national) – as long as people know what they’re talking about – I welcome the fact-check aspect of blogs, just like I would any reader who says “this fact is wrong” and has evidence. And many of the blogs are good reads.

    With so many eyes, since one reporter is one person not 1,400, the blogs can help reporters think of and find things they just couldn’t find themselves because of a lack of time.

    Piece of advice for those with dodgy blood pressure – don’t read the blogs you don’t like. Life will be so much less stressful and you may find time to put greater meaning back in your life.

    Comment by Temple Stark -

  16. Clooney and Spears often post their own blogs. That’s the reference. The most notable being Britney’s “Letter of Truth” where she claims she’s going to retire to start a family and was “moved” by the musical Wicked.

    Preach on Mark, as alawys you rock.

    Comment by Amy -

  17. WAHOOO!!! i know this is totally off topic, but i cannot contain my enthusiasm and joy for the mavs to win 4-0 against REALLY Good teams! tonight’s thriller against the suns was a GREATTTTT game!!!! WAHoOOOOOo

    Comment by cali -

  18. Hey Mark.. glad to see we finally agree on something🙂 Anyway, hope all is well… I’ve been diving into learning about Blog’s over the past few weeks because I know it’s on fire and only touching the surface. Kind of the same way I felt when I discovered this company called AudioNet years ago.

    I’m about to launch my Blog this week. Just using it as an extension of my web site which will give me the ability to branch out and reach a new audience. I can now post updates, pictures, audio instantly and on the go which is amazing. Podcasting allows my music to be distributed to I-Pod-er’s who are jumping on the Podcasting bandwagon. In any case once people understand the power of Blogs and how to use them to their advantage it will become another major medium in the online world.

    Take care,
    Joey Love
    http://joeylovetx.blogspot.com/

    Comment by Joey Love -

  19. Some bloggers may begin acting like traditional media, but there are too many to expect them all to “play ball” or devour themselves. As more and more blogs appear there are more and more voices and points of view expressed on every angle of every issue. They will compete but they will not ultimately be controlled. Those that serve the consumers of information in the way we want to be served will ultimately win no matter how you handle them.

    Comment by Theodore -

  20. Big time media can run but they can’t hide. Nice work Mark! The problem is the media people are “stars” who get paid way too much money and they are way lazy. Katie Couric makes $12 mil come on!!! She is not curing cancer. Now they all write books & promote them on their TV shows. They should have to pay for Ad time like the rest of the animals in the barn. In fact the more I watch anything on TV it just feels like one long sales pitch. I don’t trust the MSM for news anymore either, it’s become so incestuous and everyone knows what happens when cousins marry. It’s not good for the gene pool.

    Comment by JV -

  21. Big time media can run but they can’t hide. Nice work Mark! The problem is the media people are “stars” who get paid way too much money and they are way lazy. Katie Couric makes $12 mil come on!!! She is not curing cancer. Now they all write books & promote them on their TV shows. They should have to pay for Ad time like the rest of the animals in the barn. In fact the more I watch anything on TV it just feels like one long sales pitch. I don’t trust the MSM for news anymore either, it’s become so incestuous and everyone knows what happens when cousins marry. It’s not good for the gene pool.

    Comment by JV -

  22. good

    Comment by neo -

  23. Sorry Mark, you’re off on this one.

    Calling political bloggers the media wave of the future is like calling the Weekly World News the same. Facts bear little importance and even worse than wanting to make a name for themselves, every single one of these political blgogers are also trying to push a specific political left-wing or right-wing agenda. And I find it incredibly-sad that there are that many people sitting in front of computers 12 hours a day waiting for some rumor to come up so they can feel important and somehow their existence be validated.

    Blogs are great for people to be able to spout off on and brief exchanges of idea. But as far as actual credibility, I may as well go get my facts from the crazy drunk on the corner.

    Comment by Primis -

  24. I didn’t get the Clooney/Britney Spears reference… could some please give me the 411?

    Comment by Elias -

  25. I think Mark’s analysis is ok, but his characterization of bloggers as the new paparazzi is way off. Like “R” said, the information these mass media organization dispence can be important, unlike what dessert Madonna might have had. Therefore, any inaccuracies or biases that effect that information becomes important as well. CBS/Rather’s actions regarding those “memos” were despictable and in some ways the cover-up continues. Same with Eason Jordan. The blogosphere really only wanted the tape of the event. What most people miss is that he made almost the exactly same comments 4 months ago (http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1355027,00.html). If an executive from a major news organization accuses US troops of murdering journalists, he needs evidence. If he does so repeatedly without proof, that’s news. The fact that his organization thinks nothing of it and it’s competitors choose not to report it does not bode well for lack of bias.

    Comment by Farky -

  26. I think it is the newest form of “journalism.” Good or bad, like it or not, it is here to stay, until something else comes along.
    http://www.xtremeselfdefense.com
    http://www.xtremeselfdefense.net

    Comment by Steve -

  27. You are acting like this is something new. “In every major conference, at every major speech, sitting at tables in restaurants, there is going to be a blogger or podcaster with microphone, PDA, Videophone, laptop or paper and pencil in hand. Listening. Taking notes. That information is going to be transmitted to and from a blog entry and placed in the hands of “the readers”.” … Umm, reporters have been doing that for decades.

    And bloggers are already getting arrogant just like the traditional media. They experience a glimpse of power and influence and they are drunk instantly. Many of them ramble on as if they are brilliant and experts on every topic imaginable because some people read their opinions.

    Comment by Sherwin -

  28. There’s a big difference between political bloggers and celebrity paparazzi. We have a right to ask questions of those creating the news and reporting on it. Exploiting celebrities’ lives has no bearing on government or society.

    As for Eason Jordan — Davos invited the blogger Rony Abovitz there who reported Jordan’s ‘off the record’ comments. It seems inviting the bloggers inside was the downfall of Jordan.

    The blogger, John Aravosis, who proved Jeff Gannon was a former male prostitute on his AMERICABlog, was on CNN prior to his recent expose emphasising the Valerie Plame / Act of Treason side to the story. See – http://www.crooksandliars.com/2005/02/10.html

    Therefore I think you are completely wrong about your post. It suggests damage control by acquiescing those hungry for dissent. The bloggers don’t need to be invited in; rather the media and government need to completely open up in legitamite ways, and thus become the bloggers in a sense. They need to be HONEST and acknowledge what the rest of the world thinks of us, in order to realistically debate why we offer a better system.

    Specifically, I enjoy Tom Barnett’s blog (http://thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/) because he is on the forefront of globalization and realistically fighting the war on terror yet he does it in a genuine way. He is human. You can relate to him.

    They’ll never invite bloggers into the Bilderberg Conferences and they shouldn’t have to, but America’s powerful forces need to start acting openly and honestly in a way people can comprehend and understand — until then most of America will be mesmerized by worthless celebrities, why the rest of the world wonders why we are so blind and ignorant, embracing conspiracy theories that generate nothing but hate.

    Comment by R -

  29. Jason is right – the Gannon/Guckert scandal is the perfect example of how the blogosphere can make a difference. There’s a problem though.

    The Gannon story started breaking about 3 weeks ago. John over at Americablog.org and several other bloggers have been digging into the story and have finally shown that Gannon is a gay male prostitute who has “serviced” people in the DC area. And then, one day, he becomes a reporter and gets a White House press pass under a fake name and then, the gay male prostitute begins writing gay-baiting stories. And it goes much deeper than this – i.e. his access to secret CIA documents etc.

    This is huge – and here’s the problem – only the blogosphere is talking about it. Networks refuse to touch the story – no big newspaper stories. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Not even Drudge with his gay-baiting stories will touch it.

    The research is done, the story is written – all that the media needs do now is report it, but they won’t. So while a few are aware of this scandal that eclipses Clinton having consensual straight sex – because prostitution is an illegal activity – and Gannon obviously is connected with someone in power to get access to the CIA “Plame” documents and to get past stringent CIA/SS access to the White House. Is there proof tha he had sex with M4elhman or McClellan? No, but a reasonable and prudent person can see that either blackmail or favors for sex are at play here and bloggers have pushed this story as far as they can.

    Comment by Hank Light -

  30. Excellent points Mark! I’m totally onboard with you on most of it. One other issue, though, needs to be raised: BIAS.
    When I’m reading a blog, I expect it to be slanted, perhaps even distorted. I go in with that expectation and prepared to filter it that way. What gripes me is “mainstream” news media claiming they lack bias and that they have no agenda. Come on! Be serious! There clearly seems to be a bias in both directions, depending on which station you watch. My thought on the powerful bloggers is the same as yours – give them access and see what happens with it. We can hardly do worse!

    Comment by Darin Wood -

  31. But we NEED bloggers trying to trip up the powerful. As one of the powerful, I can see how you wouldn’t want that to happen. Just look at the Jeff Gannon/Jim Guckert scandal that is brewing. A former gay male prostitute with minimal journalism background gets hired by Talon “news” (owned by a quite rich GOP supporting group, GOPUSA), somehow gets continuous day passes to White House Press briefings. Then he continues to lob softballs at both McClellan and the President himself as well as somehow had access to CIA memos involved with the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

    If there wasn’t an agressive, nearly paparrazi-like political blogosphere, we never would have known about this.

    ANd before you say it’s nto a big story, imagine if it had happened under Clinton what the response would have been.

    Comment by Jason (Go Pacers) -

  32. Great post Mark, I have seen this in so many blogs. I have removed many RSS feeds from my daily read for the most part because it felt like I was reading a tabloid.

    Comment by Steve -

  33. Excellent points Mark – we’ll see if the traditional media “gets it”. I’d suggest that while mistakes will/do happen, the gatekeepers could do a better job of fact-checking and if they do make a mistake, admit it. To me, that was almost the bigger deal with RatherGate – took ’em almost two weeks to admit they goofed. I.e. it’s less of a “political/bias” issue (although that is a concern) and more a just do a better job of reporting.

    BTW, a friend of mine works for the NBA Player’s Association and was hoping to get me a pass to the NBA Tech Summit this Friday, but his is non-transferable, so I probably can’t make it. Have you guys considered web-casting it?

    Comment by alek -

  34. Totally dead on, Mark. Over time, the more popular bloggers will be co-opted by the traditional media. A new media order will arise from the present chaos.

    Comment by Danny Taggart -

  35. The blogs will hopefully keep us all off network news in less than a few years(help us Mark!) No more salary caps for news casts and we can get stuff like http://dear_raed.blogspot.com/
    .
    So much less agenda is sooo atractive.
    Just think if we could get some politicians in that weren’t career steroid users? Some impartial reporting might help, eh? (Sorry just missing the NHL, but not as much as Daniels!

    Comment by doke tha okie -

  36. This one gave me a lot of opportunity for some inward thinking, oddly enough, and also to take a longer look at the blogosphere over at my own corner of the net. I agree and disagree with you Mark – thanks for the food for thought!

    Comment by George Berryman -

  37. Wow. Another excellent piece by Mark Cuban.

    He’s right though – if you’re not going to blog to defend yourself, you’d better start working with a blogger to get your side of the story out.

    Like Guy Kawasaki once said: Eat like a bird, poop like an elephant.

    Comment by Dennis T Cheung -

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