In Aruba today, we are seeing a very interesting dynamic. The country is terrified over the damage that to their country that the whole Natalee disappearance is causing. This is not to discount the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, the people are genuinely caring and loving and searching and worried for her, it is part of their make up. However, when the islands economy is hanging in the balance, the people of Aruba are scared and near panic. They know that if the story goes wrong, many bad things will happen to them.
The Aruban people are especially frustrated by the American media. Bill O’Reilly is being vilified after his show last night insinuating that the drug lords are so influential in Aruba that they are trying to make the story to go away so the US government will not look closely at them. So FOX is persona non grata.
Rumors are abound that the CNN reporters have been abrupt with the people they have been in contact with and are writing stories that are not true. So CNN is not as disliked as Fox but still not very well liked.
So today, we were amazed that on ARUBADAG.COM , the national television and radio chain, had a large graphic pointing there American readers to Scared Monkeys as the authoritative news source for the Natalee Holloway story. Both Red and I said a big WOW.
We thank the management of Arubadag for trusting the story of Natalee Holloway with Scared Monkeys. We are humbled and proud that with all of the media choices that are available, they chose us. But we also recognize that the power of the weblog is being recognized.
We have been able to cover this story not through the throwing of reporters at it, but through the network. We read all of the major media stories and give our opinion, we provide a comment section that allows both Arubans and Americans to talk with each other. We have had a Dutchman describe the legal system of the Netherlands so that Americans could understand the differences and understand why it looks as if nothing is happening when actually the system is moving at its proper speed. Other great examples of this:
- A personal friend of Mickey John from America gives a view of him that is different.
- An Aruban explains the anger at Bill O’Reilly and why
- And another Aruban in the United States who is friends with the Van Der Sloots.
- Amy who informs us when and how to hear the press conferences, so we have the same access to the key players that the press on site does.
- Another Father who allows us to see a father’s unbridled concern for his daughters
- And a girl who went to school with Natalee telling what the trip was described as, and the local stories going around Mountain View.
These are just a few instances out of the hundreds of comments that we have received in the last few days. And they all were not this good, but some were better, and a vast majority were from people who felt empowered to be a part of the story and wished to help with a positive statement, or a tip, or just I am there for you Holloways.
The synergy of the weblog allows us to cover a story that even the Aruban media recognizes is as effective if not superior to any of the media in America. What we have done is something that many other bloggers could have done. We found the information, presented it for people to analyze, and then gave a forum for others to give their opinions and insights.
The weblog is a powerful tool, and the reshaping of the media landscape will allow this tool to empower the readers to enhance the story. The only question is whether the large the media will assume the responsibility, or will they wither on the vine, and bloggers take the lead.
Now go and say a prayer or think a positive thought for Natalee and her family. That is the best thing you could do right now.