I haven’t yet written about the growing Walter Reed scandal because I haven’t found a way to look at it from a new media perspective.
But with yesterday’s ousting of Dr. Francis Harvey as the secretary of the Army, I had to.
Wow, have heads rolled in this case. First, a barrage of NCOs. Then a captain. Then the general in charge of Walter Reed Medical Center. Then the general selected as interim replacement for Walter Reed. And then, the big fish, the secretary himself.
Here is how the scandal developed online, in terms of volume of discussion:
Apparently, the military didn’t learn anything from the public reaction to Abu Ghraib. In a traditional media model, a few people would have been fired and a few days later the story would have passed.
Never underestimate the power of online media to spread and keep a story going.
Consider prominent liberal political blogger John Aravosis. He alone attacked the Army over the treatment of Soldiers at Walter Reed at least 16 times. Himself. That doesn’t include the other bloggers who write at his site who have covered the issue.
Still, to keep this story in perspective, look at how this story tracked compared to Jennifer Hudson.