CYBERSPACE, February 17, 2005 ( - During the US presidential election, many heard for the first time about the rise in influence of the “bloggers,” the wave of self-publishing internet journalists whose up-to-the nanosecond news reporting caused the downfall of CBS’s anchor-Titan Dan Rather.

Now that the bloggers have found themselves powerful enough to depose one of mainstream broadcast media’s most powerful icons, they are realizing their power in other areas. A group of pro-life bloggers has banded together to try to stop the starvation death of Terri Schindler-Schiavo. One of the writers on the group ‘blog, “Tim,” wrote, “Terri’s bloggers have a lot of work to do. We need to do what we are doing which is organizing the largest telephone and email campaign this ole country’s seen in a very long time.” 

For some time, concerned pro-lifers and disability rights activists have followed the story of Terri’s parents’ fight for her life by reading the ‘blogs. One in particular, Fr. Rob Johansen, a friend of Terri and the Schindlers, has posted frequently on Terri’s case. His information has sometimes contradicted or clarified mainstream media’s often imprecise pronouncements.

The term ‘blog’ is short for ‘weblog’ and refers to the type of website that can be updated by the moderator from any internet terminal, carry links to other sites and enable readers to type in their comments. The secret of the power of ‘blogs is the incredibly rapid worldwide exchange of information they make possible when bloggers get connected. In the case of the, the specified purpose is to organize into a one-stop ‘blog site where information can be gleaned that is not hampered by mainstream media biases.

Most blogs carry a ‘blogroll’ on a sidebar that connects with other ‘blogs with similar interests. has called for bloggers to join their blogroll and will issue a media release when they have reached 100 blogs. 

Bloggers talk to each other over the internet and are often able, therefore, to get on-the-spot information – from anywhere in the world and often from eyewitnesses – at a speed that traditional print and broadcast journalists can only envy. Much of the mainstream media information about the war in Iraq, for example, was contradicted by a group of bloggers in Baghdad calling themselves the Iraqi Bloggers. 

All journalism, whether print, broadcast or online, is heavily dependent on the internet but bloggers are rarely professional journalists and blogging can be done from home with minimal computer skills for little or no cost. One blogger told “If you have the skills to surf, you have the skills to blog.” 

Many bloggers feel that their ‘blogs serve the same purpose as the self-published underground newsletters, called ‘samizdat’ that helped bring down Eastern European communism in the 1980’s. The rapid exchange and dissemination of information at ground level by ordinary people has made it harder for politicians or media or wayward Churchmen to keep their secrets.

True to form, the bloggers have taken up the story of Terri’s blogger-defenders before a press release was officially issued. 

For excellent pro-life, pro-family information on US politics, see Catholics in the Public Square.

Read Father Johansen’s blog