THE LIVEBLOGGING OF THE LIBBY TRIAL. The New York Times yesterday had a pretty nice piece on something of a phenomenon out of the Libby trial -- the coverage by firedoglake.
Initially, a different group of bloggers covering the trial - Media Bloggers Association - seemed to get all the attention. But there can really be no question that their coverage was completely overshadowed by the centerpiece of fdl's: the extraordinary liveblogging done by my friend Marcy Wheeler, supplemented by Swopa's during the week Marcy was away from the trial. (Full disclosure: I did one guest post over there on the trial.) What made the liveblogging extraordinary was not just that Marcy was able to keep up with the fast pace in the courtroom. It was that she both knows the case at such a granular level of detail and understands how those granular details fit into the larger context of what is at stake in the proceedings, so that she has been able to produce a very reliable non-transcript of the moment-by-moment proceedings, available for anyone interested. The Times notes that many mainstream journalists used fdl's liveblogging to check on the trial. I understand other VIPs with a hand in the case did as well. This is an instance where bloggers' ability to dig into a topic in a way that, for very practical reasons, is usually impossible for reporters at daily newspapers produced entirely good results.
I don't know if there's any larger lesson about the blogosphere in the media here. I doubt anything like this will happen again; it's just too much a unique confluence of circumstances. And I'm rather doubtful that the net effect of the trial for the fraught issue of relations between bloggers and the press will be positive, on account of the vitriol expressed toward several members of the press, particularly Tim Russert, by many of the bloggers following the case, not just on the right but on the left too. (In my view, some on the left bought way too much into the defense's rather misleading representations of Russert's positions and conduct.) But there can be no question that Marcy's liveblogging constitutes an event in the history of the blogosphere.