The Daily Show had a fascinating interview Wednesday night with writer John Hockenberry who has written a piece on military bloggers for Wired magazine called The Blogs of War.
Host Jon Stewart marvelled at the almost poetic quality of the writing of U.S. servicemen and women in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It’s a full range,” Hockenberry said. “You get guys who talk about stuff that blows up, and you get guys who actually chronicle the battles before the New York Times.”
He argued there’s always been blogs, although I think his point was there’s always been chroniclers of war.
But the networked electronic technology of today has really changed things, Hockenberry argued.
It also showed the law of unintended consequences. Soldiers serving overseas were originally given access to the technology to give them almost instant communications with their loved ones, he said.
Stewart said many of these bloggers probably had more freedom than imbedded reporters, to which Hockenberry said: “Oh, absolutely. People can go out on intelligence exercises, get involved in serious bang-bang and come back and say, ‘this is what I did today, honey.’”
Most soldiers don’t expect to maintain this degree of freedom in the future, he said
Stewart wondered why the news media didn’t quote more from these blogs.
“That really is the indictment of the media,” Hockenberry said, adding the media wanted its news filtered. “It’s not into the raw stuff from the front lines.”
He then offered this assertion:
“These guys are the media now. These guys are their own kind of authority.”