In a recent exchange of emails between Jeffery Dvorkin, NPR's ombusdman and history professor, Ann Little of Colorado State University over alleged bias by some of NPR's news commentators, Dvorkin superciliously dismissed Dr. Little's comments because they were based on news and commentary gathered from the Internet, specifically Weblogs and not from traditional mainstream media.
Dvorkin subsequently changed his view and has apologized:
In an e-mail to a listener, I dismissed those people who criticize NPR based on information they get from blogs. That e-mail to Professor Ann Little (to whom I apologized) was posted on one of those blogs, www.mediawhoresonline.com. The response from people who read this and other blogs was pretty impressive.
Blogs are, as I now appreciate, as legitimate a method of communicating information and opinion as traditional media. I was wrong to suggest that much of political blogging is "astroturfing" (see definition below). Indeed, a recent Pew poll points out that an increasing number of Americans are getting their information from non-traditional sources. That fact has now been made abundantly clear to me.
You were right. I was wrong.
In future, I will pay closer attention to those who feel inclined to contact me, regardless of where they get their information. Political life in the United States is changing and so, it seems, should be how and where political journalism chooses its information.
Isn't that sweet?