If you watched the Nightline segment on blogging tonight, you might be interested to read more about how blogs influenced Virginia Delegate John Cosgrove to withdraw HB1677. Although Nightline interviewed me for the piece for over 90 minutes, they're only able to fit a few minutes of that into their broadcast, so here's the fuller story if you're interested.
Concerns about the bill were first posted here at Democracy for Virginia and in a cross-posted diary on DailyKos. Both posts resulted in quite a few comments, but opposition to the bill in the blogosphere really took off when the story traveled to the infertility/miscarriage blogosphere through a great post at Chez Miscarriage. You can get a sense of how the story traveled in the blogosphere by reviewing the "trackbacks" on my original post here and on the first post at Chez Miscarriage.
Within a day, our site was getting tens of thousand of hits, and I posted an update with additional information on the bill and links to additional research on fetal death reporting for readers in other states who were concerned about how this issue was dealt with in their state. Many blogs provided incredibly valuable additive research.
Meanwhile, hundreds of concerned men and women had contacted Delegate Cosgrove about this bill. Although I had written him an email three days before posting my original concerns, I didn't hear from him directly until he had been inundated with concerned emails. To his credit, Delegate Cosgrove spent many hours that weekend responding to concerned writers. At his request, I posted his full email response to me here.
By Sunday of that week, newspapers and TV stations around Virginia had picked up the story. Although Delegate Cosgrove at first acknowledged problems with the bill, his responses soon focused on what he called "misinformation" about the bill. I wrote about that here.
Soon, the news broke that Del. Cosgrove would withdraw the bill entirely. Still, Delegate Cosgrove seemed to deflect the genuine citizen concerns about the bill as written by blaming blogs for spreading misinformation, even though he never challenged or disputed the substance of the concerns expressed about the bill itself. Many of the ordinary people who wrote to him with concerns about this bill were quite insulted by his implication that they were all dupes of a misinformation campaign. It seemed like Cosgrove wanted to blame the messenger rather than address the message. I wrote about this here.
All readers of the original story about the bill were invited to be skeptical about my concerns and interpretations. The great thing about blogs is that readers are empowered to fact-check stories for themselves, and I encourage all readers to do so here. Thanks for visiting Democracy for Virginia!