We need more blogs.
Blogs have been much in the news recently. Trent Lott, Dan Rather, Eason Jordan, “Jeff Gannon,” and now the architects of the EU can all testifiy to the power of the blog. We all know the big players, but who else is out there blogging and why? According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, a survey of American Internet users revealed that 9% of Internet users have created blogs, and 25% of Internet users read blogs. In terms of the whole American population, 1 out of 20 American adults has created a blog, and 1 in 6 American adults reads them. The blog reading population is about 20% of the size of the newspaper reading population. Some other interesting blogging stats from Pew include the following: Blog readership increased 58% in 2004, but less than half of Internet users know what a blog is, and millions of blogs go unread every day. So why do we need more of them?
One example why is a Jackson, Mississippi, blog named The Inebriated Mule. The Mule writes on a variety of topics, but one area that he, and other bloggers like him, are undeniably experts in is what’s going on in their local areas. Take the story of Carey Goza. (Links to all Jackson MSM stories are available in The Inebriated Mule posts. Just follow the blog trail back to find links to each story.) Ms. Goza is a 26-year-old inner-city school teacher in Jackson who was arrested at school in April for allegedly assaulting a student in March. The media had been tipped off to be there, so film crews were present for the perp walk. Details emerged slowly with daily TV news coverage and print coverage in the Jackson Clarion Ledger. An editorial a week later called the arrest shameful because it occurred in defiance of a state law that mandates a probable cause hearing, which did not occur in Ms. Goza’s case. The focus was on Ms. Goza, but a few details about the parent, Jacqueline Traylor, did trickle out in the next few weeks. She was a former PTA president and is a secretary at the Jackson police headquarters.
Police chief Robert Moore said that there was an ongoing internal investigation that would determine if his department was "unduly influenced." The Mule initially did not have any new facts; he commented on the media coverage, but very early on he did offer a scenario that could explain why Ms. Goza was released immediately on her own recognizance upon arriving at jail, away from the media.
That phrase, "unduly influenced", is in itself telling. Could a police secretary, who happened to be a former PTA president and a mother of a student in Goza's class, have enough strings to pull to satisfy a personal grudge or grievance? I have gotten tickets fixed by people who do no more than answer the phone for police, so my guess would be yes.
Television coverage was relentless for the first month. It was a daily event. And then the story seemed to die off, with Ms. Goza’s formerly spotless reputation in ruins. Except for the Inebriated Mule. The media called Ms. Traylor a “former PTA president.” The Mule reports that Ms. Traylor stepped down from her PTA president position when a $1,000 discrepancy in the PTA books was discovered, which was traced to a withdrawal she made to attend a conference that she never attended or made reservations to attend. (Charges were threatened, but not filed against her and she was ultimately forced to repay the $1,000.) He is continuing to investigate whether Ms. Traylor has a motive other than as a concerned parent to bring this charge against Ms. Goza. The media has not covered that at all.
The media noted that the arrest was illegal but has not reported extensively on the fact that it was Commander Eric Wall, Ms. Traylor’s supervisor, who signed the arrest warrant, who has been on sick leave and unavailable to the investigation and who has been offered immunity from his own department for his testimony. The media camped outside Ms. Goza’s home for days following her arrest, but that certainly has not happened in the case of Commander Wall.
Ms. Goza will finally have her probable cause hearing on June 14, long after her arrest, to find out if there is indeed any evidence to suggest that she should have been arrested for the alleged assault in the first place. It probably will not get anywhere near the air time that her arrest did. The results of the investigation to find out how a police department employee was able to have her child’s teacher illegally arrested will not be nearly as well publicized as the fact of the arrest. And if it were not for the continuing efforts of The Inebriated Mule to shed some light on this story, the Jackson community might just assume that the system worked just fine, because if it didn’t, the media would have told them so. That is why we need more bloggers.
Make it a point to read a local blog today.
UPDATED: The Inebriated Mule has scooped the media again, this time with a really funny photo and more background on Ms. Traylor. Considering that the MSM in Jackson camped outside of Goza's house for days, you would think that an interview or some background info on her accuser would be in order, but apparently it's not newsworthy. Go figure.
Posted by Laura Curtis at June 7, 2005 10:53 AM
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|# June 8th, 2005 1:31 AM Daddy|
|Uh....the Gay Pride Parade is in West Hollywood this weekend!
But somehow I don't think I should have to suffer through 8 hours of bad disco and traveling bondage shows.
|# June 8th, 2005 5:29 AM Laura|
|I stay out of the popular culture as much as possible, so I can't tell if the disco thing is a joke or not. I hope it is, I hated it the first time and I would hate to see it come back.
As for the Gay Pride Parade, if it's anything like Southern Decadence which is an annual event here in New Orleans, stay out. Trust me on that one.