In fact bloggers are making the news which is great. Of course it all started with Guido Fawkes who is portrayed as a thorn in the flesh of the Government, releasing details of those nasty e-mails which were authored in No 10 Downing Street. I bet his web site (http://www.order-order.com/) is overloading with hits as we speak and good luck to him, whatever his political leanings.
But behind those headlines of Brown’s enforcers thinking up salacious stories about the Opposition, is the real story – that New labour are so entrenched in old politics which entails press briefings in pubs, curry houses and hotel bars that they have totally forgotten to embrace the internet in general and blogging in particular. Apparently, the Conservatives have a whole generation of internet gurus and New Labour have been trying to catch up but with disastrous results. In the words of Alistair Campbell, who is not my favourite person, the recent e-mail and blogging ‘exercise’, was not only infantile, it was incompetent. Ouch!
Then there was an article in the Times, again prompted by Guido Fawkes, about blogging and the fact that bloggers can basically say anything they like without fear of prosecution because, in most cases their hosting services are outside the UK’s boundaries and the normal defamation and libel laws do not apply.
So – as my hosting service is somewhere Google has a data centre (let’s hope it’s outside the UK), I would just like to say that Gordon Brown is a complete *!£$%.
But back to proper journalism …… or the lack of it. It seems that newspapers, who encourage virtually every one of their staff to have a blog these days, shy away from printing stories which they know to be true but which would cause a legal storm if printed in the hard copy. They prefer these scoops, which tend to be of the ‘controversial’ variety, to be published in their reporters’ blogs rather than risk being castigated for printing the story in the main paper. The reason being that whilst several hundred thousand will read the article in the newspaper, only a handful will read it in the blog. And there lies the rub – it’s all to do with exposure, which is a rather unfortunate word when it comes to politicians, but the bigger the readership, the bigger the libel award, so newspapers are keeping quite a low profile these days, preferring the early scoop to be ‘tested’ on the internet.
And of course, blogging sites can get their stories out pretty quickly or at least, to their readership quickly. As I’ve said before, once I my blogging site is running, any new article from a blogger I follow, appears as if by magic on my screen as soon as it’s been posted. As I write this, an article about Liverpool’s football game tonight has just appeared and it was only written by a Times reporter 9 minutes ago. Talk about being up-to-date!
So, over the next few days, expect my blog to be pretty slow as several million new bloggers are added to this wonderful online community.