Video: Bloggers: The new press power?

By Dawn Fratangelo Correspondent
NBC News
updated 5/5/2006 8:02:19 AM ET 2006-05-05T12:02:19

They are the new age opinion page — Internet blogs written by big names and no names — and this week they even had the White House on the defensive.

On April 28, President George Bush, discussing the National Anthem being sung in Spanish, said, “I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English.”

When bloggers pointed out that a book claims Mr. Bush once sang the anthem in Spanish, the White House responded it was absurd.

Then there's comedian Stephen Colbert’s appearance at last weekend’s White House Correspondents dinner. With President Bush in attendance, Colbert told the crowd, “Don't pay attention to the approval ratings that say 68 percent of Americans disapprove of the job this man is doing. I ask you this, ‘does that not also logically mean that 68 percent approve of the job he's not doing?’”

Colbert’s roasting of the president this weekend got nearly 70,000 posts on blogs according to the blog-tracking Web site Technorati — the most of any subject Thursday.

“That you can see that footage of Stephen everywhere has served to be sort of a wake-up call,” says comedian Harry Shearer, who blogs for The Huffington Post. “Wait a minute, we're still a country where it's OK to say these things about the president? Whew! That's a relief.”

What started as lonely voices from laptops are a growing influence in the mainstream media. Most every news outlet — including our own — now has at least one.

NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams gets much of his material for The Daily Nightly from editorial meetings. Part of the chatter at Thursday afternoon's meeting was all the buzz about those blogs and how they're creating a more inclusive dialogue.

“It used to be a few gatekeepers at the top decided what the topics of the national conversations were going to be,” says Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit.com. “Now it bubbles up from the bottom.”

The voice of the everyman is growing louder and being heard everywhere.

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