Every now and again as a blogger, you think you’re onto something. You make an observation or unearth a fact which will generate interest in the blogosphere, maybe even getting notice in the MSM. So, you write your post, double-check your facts, review your text, then e-mail a number of bloggers alerting others to your revelation.
But, hours later, you find that no one else really takes notice.
Other times, you’ll hack out a post to find your getting links up the wazoo (sometimes without sending out a similar e-mail (as I did with this post which survived the hijacking of our blogspot site).
Yesterday after beginning research on a post I was writing (anticipating Hillary’s success in Indiana), outlining the episodes in her life which defined her as a narrow partisan, I thought I chanced onto a huge story.
One of those episodes was her decision to skip the funeral of one of her predecessors as First Lady. So, I contacted the Nixon Library (amazingly friendly & helpful people), confirming within a matter of minutes that Mrs. Clinton had not attended Mrs. Nixon’s funeral.
Then, I googled Mrs. Clinton’s White House schedule for the date of the funeral (June 26, 1993) and found she had attended a political fundraiser that day. It was as if I had hit pay dirt. It seemed big news to me that the then-First Lady would prefer a partisan event to a religious ceremony honoring a woman who had transcended her husband’s partisanship to serve as a unifying national figure during her tenure as First Lady.
I wrote out my post, e-mail a number of bloggers. Only Pajamas picked it up. Maybe it was the interest in the Indiana and North Carolina primaries. Or maybe it was just that the story wasn’t as big as I had thought it was.
Indeed, one of our regular readers, normally sober in his comments and supportive of my notions, thought I had gone overboard. And I wondered if I had.
I believed this was a story because it showed (as I put it in the original post) that “Mrs. Clinton prefers Democratic politics to paying homage to one of her predecessors.“Â Just five months into her tenure as First Lady when Pat Nixon passed and already a divisive figure, Hillary Clinton had the chance to show real class, rising above partisan differences to honor one of her predecessors, the wife to her husband’s most controversial contemporary predecessors. A predecessor from the opposing political party.
Had she attended the funeral, she would have shown that she was First Lady to all Americans, not just the partisan wife of a Democratic president.
Maybe this issue struck me because I always liked Pat Nixon. She is the first First Lady I remember growing up. I have always been impressed by the strength she showed during her husband’s tumultuous final months in office. Indeed, in standing by her husband, she may well have spared the nation a worse crisis. He could more easily resign the presidency, knowing his wife (and daughters) supported him. Indeed, she held him together in those difficult months after he left office.
I thought it was an issue that when First Lady, Hillary Clinton chose to skip her funeral to attend a political fundraiser.
Other bloggers did not.
Or maybe it was just a question of timing.
Anyway, there are a number of interesting issues here, not least of which is the speed with which I was able to confirm Hillary’s absence (thanks to the good folks at the Nixon Library) and figure out what she was doing that day (thanks to the web). While fifteen years ago, I might have been able to learn quickly about that absence, it may have taken considerably more time to track down the latter information.
How the web changes things.
This is also a sign of the democracy of the web. Important stories can percolate up from blogs, even ones smaller than this. While we don’t have editors who determine the merits of a story, other bloggers often serve that role. A newspaper editor may scotch a zealous reporter’s story idea. Were that reporter a blogger, he might be able to get his idea out there. Perhaps the story would have met the same fate had an editor rejected it. Or perhaps it would have found a wider audience.
The long and the short of it is that we just don’t know on our own what stories will resonate. And that there may be just as many hands necessary to promote a story in the blogosphere as there were when (what we now call) traditional media dominated.
It’s just that now there are a greater diversity of hands pushing a greater variety of stories.