What New Media Can Learn From Old Media

Andrew Breitbart holds a news conference on "ACORN Revealed: The Philadelphia Story" at the National Press Club October 21, 2009 in Washington, DC. During the press conference Breitbart showed new video material as well as new footage of ACORN officials. Win McNamee/Getty Images

There's been some talk lately about the differences about how the New Media and the Old Media operate and how the Old Media better get on the stick.

In case you hadn't noticed, I am Old Media with a capital O. Proud of it, actually.

And yes, we do operate differently than some in the New Media and I again underline some.

Here's one way: Old Media makes its share of mistakes, but not if we can help it. We still call people involved in a story to get their side; editors fact check; and we never publish or broadcast anything unless we think it's true.

Last week, we saw what can happen when it's done the other way.

A partisan blogger with an agenda - not a journalist - put the heavily edited, totally out of context, now infamous sound bite of Shirley Sherrod on the Internet. Some of the cable folk picked up the story, and demanded the woman's ouster.

No calls to those involved, no checking of any kind - just throw it out there and leave it to the woman to defend herself.

Even worse, an administration so anxious to wash its hands of the controversy before the evening news came on didn't check, either, and fired her.

You know the rest of it, including all the apologies.

I know the Old Media can always learn a thing or two from the New Media, and I sure don't want to lecture the young folks - even the older ones masquerading as New Media.

But hey, if you would just make a call every once in a while to check these things out before you put it on the web, you could save all of us a lot of trouble.
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    Bob Schieffer is CBS News' chief Washington correspondent and anchor of Face the Nation.

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