The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

15 February 2005

Bloggers: Are You Ready For War?

Previously I warned that bloggers had better prepare themselves for 2005: the year the media establishment fights back.

It's time to sound the alarm louder than ever, now that the Pajama Team has scored its biggest victory yet: ousting Eason Jordan from CNN after his strange comments about US troops in Iraq, targeting journalists for extinction.

There's just no way without the efforts of dozens of bloggers such as Michelle Malkin and many others that Jordan would have left the network. Yes, his duties had been sharply reduced over a year ago and he no longer had day-to-day newsroom oversight.

And it wasn't the first strange outburst from Jordan. I have him to thank for three hours of loaded radio call-in lines one day, after he admitted CNN gave Saddam a free pass from criticism, in exchange for access to Iraq.

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board yesterday strangely took the old media's side, essentially contending that bloggers had become rather a bit carried away on the Jordan story. They claimed it was really just an inappropriate off-handed comment that didn't warrant termination or resignation.

When even the WSJ is getting nervous, after several years of championing bloggers at, it's clear the medium has arrived.

And with that, I will warn again, it will get ugly this year. Get ready, bloggers, you've had fast success and this will be your true test.

How do I know? Because I've been there, done that and seen what happens when they fight back.

Talk radio really began to be taken seriously by the news media several years after catching on with large numbers of listeners. November 1994 was the turning point when the old guard woke up from their long slumber and took notice.

I'll never forget how fast things changed after that election: suddenly we were the hot-heads, Rush-clones, gun-nuts, every name in the book. The news media focused on a few extreme comments made by a handful of hosts and attached them to all of us.

At the station I was with at the time, KSCO in Monterey Bay, California, we had a low-rated late night host named Dave Alan who frequently went into raving conspiracy mode. After the Oklahoma City bombing, he claimed on- air that black helicopters had been seen near the building just before the attack, along with other similar rantings.

Almost instantly, San Francisco TV stations (two hours away) began to cover his comments extensively in their newscasts. Never mind that the Monterey Bay was not part of their market area so they didn't normally cover stories there.

From there, the story went national, and Alan was seen on a number of programs. Always, the story angle was on the extreme rhetoric coming from that scary new medium, talk radio.

In addition, on-ar comments made by G. Gordon Liddy about self-defense were warped and twisted into an assertion he said federal agents should be assassinated.

We didn't know what was hitting us at the time because we were too new at the game. Many hosts had little or no previous media experience. We were all made to be guilty by association.

This is exactly the situation bloggers are in now. Some have journalism or talk radio backgrounds, most do not. The media establishment may have overlooked the Dan Rather success, partly because Rather still anchors the nightly news at CBS, but with Eason Jordan a line has been crossed.

And there's no turning back now, get ready for your trial-by-fire.


  • Brian,

    My husband has been telling me for years that bloggers were going to revolutionize the way information was traded - I have to admit I never expected it become 'the new media,' but now I realize that the truth usually rises to the top.

    And if it werent for us bloggers in the Northwest, most people couldn't make heads or tails out of what is happening here since Nov. 2. Good job guys!

    By Anonymous Lauri, at 16 February, 2005 01:42  

  • The war has started. The "Tulsa World" rag is threatening to sue Oklahoma blogger Michael Bates into silence. They are citing "inapropriate" linking to their content.

    By Anonymous tuzigoot, at 16 February, 2005 04:02  

  • Cox & Forkum just said it like only they can.

    Their depiction is exactly what is going on right now. The bloggers are indeed clouding the issue with facts. Heh.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 February, 2005 07:42  

  • That was timely, and Orbusmax caught this post, because guess who said this yesterday?

    "A frustration of mine as a person with considerable experience in the field of elections is that some of the rumors of errors, mistakes, illegalities, were absolutely incorrect, but because of the Internet, blogs and talk radio, they were circulated rapidly and extensively and helped contribute to the loss of confidence and trust in the system. I would hope in the future that the people who operate these blogs and the talk radio hosts will exercise the caution and ethics of the journalism profession, and that will help the citizery understand what really happened in the election process."

    Secretary of State Sam Reed yesterday - Chat w/ The Olympian.

    By Anonymous Josef, at 16 February, 2005 14:16  

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