Friday, February 11, 2005

Blogswarms, meet press-pass

The term "blogswarm" (as in blog-swarm, not blog's warm) is being applied to the Eason Jordan affair. An interesting phrase, with its insect connotations. Bees swarming around a hive, worker ants on automatic.

The idea is that the blogosphere's fierce discussion of Jordan's Davos remarks is, to coin a few other cliches, a tempest in a teapot, a mountain out of a molehill. Nothing to see here, move along please. After all, he retracted his statements, so anyone who doesn't just accept that is a hate-filled attack dog (whoops, another animal metaphor) out to get him for no reason.

I've discussed Jordan in three posts preceding this one, so I guess I'm just one of the swarmers. So I'll not discuss the substantive issues here--just the phenomenon of accusations of a blogswarm.

It's a pejorative, of course, designed to belittle the concerns of the swarmers. I doubt very much the accusers would consider it a swarm if it's a topic that interests them; it's a term reserved for a topic on the other side. When the mainstream media went ga-ga over Al QaQa right before the election, that could have been defined as a media swarm, but I don't recall that it ever was.

One of the many things driving the blogosphere's focus on the Jordan story is the perception (and a correct one, I believe) that the press is ignoring it because it appears to reflect poorly on one of their own, and might even end up embarrassing CNN. At best, Jordan was guilty of a sloppiness with words astounding in someone in his position, and remarkable in its capacity--although limited to "mere words"--to do harm to foreign perceptions of the US military. At worst, well...let's just wait for that tape....

So, the press is ignoring the story. The blogosphere is not. If the bloggers are guilty of swarming, what is the press guilty of here? Is there a word for the opposite of a blogswarm? I've been trying to think of an animal metaphor, in the interests of symmetry, but I confess I'm stumped. All I can come up with is a "press-pass" (well, at least it's a pun). Suggestions, anyone?

UPDATE 2/14: Actually, I'm starting to like "press-pass." Of course, now that Jordan has resigned, the blogs are being blamed. No press-pass for the pajamahadeens, apparently.


At 10:06 PM, February 14, 2005, Blogger Dr. Sanity said...

How about "Snark hunt"? Then when they softly and silently fade away it's because the snark was a boojum, you see.


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