Monday, March 17, 2008

The blogging revolution

OK, revolution may be a bit strong.

But Web logs, like the one you’re reading right now, have come a long way since the online journals of the early 1990s.

According to Wikipedia.com, Land Line Magazine’s blog was one of at least 112 million blogs as of December 2007.

Bloggers like Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report and Will Leitch, founder of the sports blog deadspin.com, have gained a lot of influence during the past few years. Although they continue to be characterized often by mainstream media and other leaders as sideline-watching, cynical slackers that criticize from the comfort of mom and dad’s basement, their fact-checking during the 2004 Presidential Election brought an end to Dan Rather’s career at CBS News.

On March 3, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff held a roundtable with bloggers.

A transcript of the discussions is available here.

Homeland Security officials are making some important decisions involving trucking, including the agency’s desire to implement the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and make border crossings uniform at Mexico and Canada.

WHTI came up during the blogger roundtable, but my favorite exchange occurred late between one blogger and a seemingly frustrated Chertoff regarding security screenings for air passengers.

Chertoff’s use of one cliché reminded the blogger of President Bush’s famously mangled version of the “fool me once” saying:

Secretary Chertoff: Well, here’s the deal. We tried the private sector screening approach and the company that did it was indicted once, and then when I was head of the criminal division, we indicted them a second time because they hadn’t learned the lesson from the first time. So, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on you; fool me three times, shame on me.

Question: Wow, you got that right.

Blogging is good for democracy and even for a few laughs!