September 29, 2004

My Pet Jawa on MSNBC: Bloggers Beat Mainstream Press Again

An image from My Pet Jawa was shown on MSNBC last night. The image was from a story I broke on Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's website being hacked on 9/22 (story here). The image can be found below, in the extended entry. Despite my best efforts to get mainstream media outlets to run the story, none did. However, a number of bloggers took up the call to arms and the news slowly got out. I received hundreds of e-mails asking for Zarqawi's website address from that original post and it's follow up. The image I grabbed from Zarqawi's website also was reposted on dozens of other blogger's websites.

Yesterday, Zarqawi's website was hacked again (story here). That news was broken by Chad Evans at In the Bullpen (story here). Luckily, Chad grabbed an image from the website before the webhost fixed the problem. Both hacks were done by a group calling themselves "TeAmZ USA", their website is here.

A number of bloggers, including me, ran the story yesterday. By late afternoon, a poster at Free Republic had mentioned the hack. By yesterday evening at least one internet news source was running the story, and by late evening Reuters had picked it up (Reuters story here).

Last night I was flipping through the news networks and tuned in to MSNBC for a few minutes. They also picked up the story. They ran three images as background, all from the internet. One of them I didn't recognize, one of them was a screenshot saved by Global Terror Alert (the URL was embedded on the image, thus showing the MSNBC producer had simply grabbed it from the internet), and the last made me jump out of bed. It was the screenshot I had saved from the original hack job done by TeAmZ USA on August 22 (see below for image)!!! The hack job that I actually e-mailed a number of "legitimate news outlets" about. The hack job that not a single mainstream media source had announced.

Interesting enough, the broadcaster on MSNBC described the penguin image left by TeAmZ USA in their hack yesterday (image here) but didn't actually show a picture of it. This leads me to conclude that the producer of the story read the Reuters story, which also describes the penguin image, and then did a quick internet search. Interestingly enough, if you do a Google search for "Zarqawi website hacked" my original story is number three. The first two search returns are to other bloggers (Jeff Quinton and Chris Short) who essentially repost the story and link back to me. In fact, every single search return from the front page is a link to a reposting of my original story or to the image I grabbed. Hence, the only images the "real journalists" could find were ones from old hack jobs. The journalists covering this story had not actually broken any news. They were simply repeating what other news sources said, which was ultimatly just a rehashing of a blogger's post.

Again, bloggers and Freepers break and disseminate a news story. The mainstream press picks up on the story. This time, though, bloggers get zero credit for their footwork. Amazing.

UPDATE: Chad says no one from any MSM outlet contacted him about the story he broke. None contacted me about my earlier post either. Notice this from the Reuters story:

"Host them and your next!" was the message left on the site by the hackers, calling themselves TeAmZ USA, who have already attacked several Islamist and pro-al Qaeda Web sites.
Since no MSM ever carried a news report about TeAmZ USA's hacking jobs how did the reporter know of their prior activities? I can only assume they got their "back story" by reading blog reports or the Free Republic website.

UPDATE II: Chad's thoughts here. While not exactly mainstream press, Techweb News (industry journal) does link Chad's article today. We're both still waiting for a call from Chris Mathews. I'll agree to an interview as long as Michelle Malkin shows up in her pajamas.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:55 AM | Comments |