Remember when NBC, CBS and ABC sneered at CNN’s lame attempt to put together a news network? And then Desert Storm happened along and CNN’s on-the-ground coverage gave America its first 24/7 live footage of war in action as Peter Arnett (and others) crouched next to an open window on the war, scooping the big networks. More importantly, the CNN footage became source material for the news networks.
Who really won Desert Storm? CNN.
There was a foreshadowing of the same thing happening this week in the blogosphere.
Politics Central, a new initiative started by Pajamas Media, reveals that the rites of war are changing again. Politics Central has bloggers right on the ground (including one 17-year-old Bunker Blogger) delivering war coverage by the nanosecond.
The Bunker Blogger (his real name is Eugene) was interviewed in Haifa and--in a twist strangely reminiscent of CNN’s rise to glory--was later interviewed by the Washington Post, CNN and NBC.
Politics Central also landed a 14-minute interview with Israeli US Ambassador Daniel Ayalon, compared to the three to four-minute sound bite offered by most news organizations.
Meanwhile, a living chronology of the ongoing Israel-Hezbollah War has been created and is now available on the Pajamas Media front page.
The ability of Politics Central to deliver solid news that gets suddenly scooped up by established media might seem small to some. But they forget that news delivers what's new. What was new in 1991 was a video camera that showed rocket attacks and SCUD missiles. What's new in 2006 is the fact that dozens of bloggers in the war zone can tell it like it is.
Who knows what the consequences are when the news (especially war coverage) is no longer mediated by Network editors or Defense Departments, but comes straight from the people. The implications are huge. In fact, suggested future blogs may feature Israeli and Arab bloggers citing their dissimilar views.
With apologies to the combatants, the real winners coming out of the MidEast conflict might be the bloggers.