But perhaps that isn't quite the correct viewpoint. Maybe it really is the recognition by a corporate news organization that blogs are doing something that many traditional venues no longer do, which is break stories seen as either too risky or threatening to the interests that they are aligned with.
This being a practice that the actual news people within such large organizations as CBS News might not be very comfortable with. I'm all for giving them the benefit of the doubt. And after all, they do have a website to publish on as well.
The article is called "Welcome to the blogosphere," and it was written by CBS News mainstay Rita Braver. Here is a part of what she has to say:
The whole nation may be talking about Congressman Anthony Weiner's sexually suggestive Internet massages ("To be clear, the picture was of me, and I sent it," Weiner admitted at a press conference Monday). But it was ONE MAN - Andrew Breitbart - who posted the story on his blog, and forced the New York Democrat to finally own up to his actions.
"I apologize to Andrew Breitbart," Weiner said. "I apologize to the many other members of the media that I misled."
"I think we were vindicated at first after a three-day frenzy of trying to attack my journalism," Breitbart said.
No matter how you feel about the Weiner Affair, and there are those who see it as being an absurd distraction from vastly more important issues such as the financial debacle our government has borrowed and spent us into, it is important to remember that it all started with a blog. And had Breitbart not broken this story Congressman Anthony Weiner would likely still be twittering pictures of his shame to women all over the country. Some of them apparently quite young.
Locally we have similar problems with our traditional news coverage, with one notable exception. The Pasadena Star News, thanks to a fortunate change in management, now covers news on its own merit, rather than viewing it through the prism of how it may appear to those an editor wishes to be friends with. The PSN's coverage of the growing corruption scandal at the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments being a good example of some good old school down and dirty journalism in action. But like I said, around here they are an exception.
In Sierra Madre there are many stories the weekly print media won't even think of covering. Including the SGVCOG corruption story. As one poster here recently put it, they won't print anything "that City Hall hasn't told them to." Another poster later lamenting that what our two weeklies publish is nothing more than "dumbed down propaganda."
One story that The Tattler broke is the Sierra Madre water rate increase corruption story. Originally peddled by the City to a credulous citizenry as necessary because of the sorry state of the ancient water infrastructure in this town, careful research later revealed that the actual reason the City needed more of our money was for something entirely different.
Had the Water Rate Corruption Scandal been taken to the Mountain Views News or the Sierra Madre Weekly, would either of those publications have revealed any of that to their readers? Likely not. Their economic and personal ties to certain members of the City Council and Staff would have led them to either smother the story entirely, or launch printed attacks on the story's messengers.
To suggest that 80% of Sierra Madre's City Council, along with many members of a City Staff that we support with our taxes but do not work for us, deliberately ginned up the rusty pipes canard so that they could get their hands on more ratepayer money, is quite a charge. And that they did so to further an agenda at odds with what most people living in this town want for themselves and their children, is also a rather bold thing to suggest. But it had to be told, and it took a blog to do it.
Whenever I get tired of writing this blog (and believe me, I occasionally do), I remind myself of the responsibility I took on when starting this. Who else is going to cover the real news of Sierra Madre if not this blog? Who will get out the stories that the many people who contribute information here want their friends and neighbors to know about? To allow "the message" of the Mountain Views News or Sierra Madre Weekly to once again be all that is available to the people of this town is frankly unthinkable.
So we press on. And let me tell you something, over the next few months it could get wild. There are people holding positions of authority in this city who know that they could be in significant trouble, and will strike back in the only ways they know how. If you thought the G4's 2010 election strategies were special, strap yourself in. Things could get very strange.
California's Green Jihad
Speaking of bloggers who say the things others only think about (if that), our hats are off to Joel Kotkin and his New Geography blog. We have happily linked to it for a couple of years now, and our admiration for his efforts continues to grow.
While Kotkin's observations will likely never get the kind of exposure that Andrew Breitbart's revelations about Congressman Weiner have been getting, his latest article, California's Green Jihad, has been getting around a bit. In Forbes Magazine for one, but also on internet planner and government policy sites. A few of which have been unkind.
How you will view this article depends on where you stand on things like SB 375, the "force inner city high density concrete sprawl on the suburbs" law. Or, if you prefer, the "lower California's standard of living" law. The one that enforces Sacramento's desire that you move out of your home, relocate to a high density rat's warren someplace, lose the car and take the bus to get there. All in the name of saving the world, of course.
Freedom of choice, or just your freedom in general, be damned.
Rather than rewriting Joel Kotkin's points here, I am going to transcribe the first several paragraphs for you to read. Kotkin can flat-out write, so his own words are plenty good enough. Then if you like what you have read, you can link to the actual article and check out the rest.
California's Green Jihad: Ideas matter, particularly when colored by religious fanaticism, wreaking havoc even in the most favored of places. Take, for instance, Iran, a country blessed with a rich heritage and enormous physical and human resources, but which, thanks to its theocratic regime, is largely an economic basket case and rogue state.
Then there's California, rich in everything from oil and food to international trade and technology, but still skimming along the bottom of the national economy. The state's unemployment rate is now worse than Michigan's and ahead of only neighboring Nevada. Among the nation's 20 largest metropolitan regions, four of the six with the highest unemployment numbers are located in the Golden State: Riverside, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. In a recent Forbes survey, California was home to six of the ten regions where the economy is poised to get worse.
One would think, given these gory details, California officials would be focused on reversing the state's performance. But here, as in Iran, officialdom focuses more on theology than on actuality. Of course, California's religion rests not on conventional divinity but on a secular environmental faith that nevertheless exhibits the intrusive and unbending character of radical religion.
As with its Iranian counterpart, California's green theology often leads to illogical economic and political decisions. California has decided, for example, to impose a rigid regime of state-directed planning related to global warming, making a difficult approval process for new development even more onerous. It has doubled-down on climate change as other surrounding western states - such as Nevada, Utah and Arizona - have opted out of regional greenhouse gas agreements.
The notion that a state economy - particularly one that has lost over 1.5 million jobs in the last decade - can impose draconian regulations beyond those of their more affluent neighbors, or the country, would seem almost absurd.
The shame here being that those concerned about real environmental causes now find themselves lumped in with Sacramento's cockamamie notions about trying to build California out of its contribution to global warming. One 1,500 acre mixed used condominium complex at a time.
You can link to the rest of Kotkin's article by clicking here. And while you're at it you might want to print out a few copies and pass them on to any members of the Green Committee you might know. Or to it's High Priest, the current Mayor of Sierra Madre.
But should you choose do so, prepare yourself for a possible (and very wordy) excommunication.