David Broder in 1998: The ‘Internet and Clinton will crash simultaneously’

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In an early Web chat, Washington Post columnist David Broder engaged with readers in a then-fresh way. “Typing at a computer terminal in The Post newsroom, Broder answered about 30 of the more than 600 question you posted,” the Post writes in its account of the transaction.

Some of the exchanges are quite plangent:

Kalamazoo, Mich.: I was surprised that Tim Russert, who I respect as a good journalist, had Matt Drudge on “Meet the Press.” Do you think that this gives legitimacy to Drudge?

David Broder: I was surprised, too. Meet the Press is in the business of giving people news and I didn’t think Drudge’s appearance furthered that goal.

There’s more Internet skepticism at the end:

Washingtonpost.com: One last question, Mr. Broder. Will the Clinton story enhance or damage the Internet’s reputation as a news source?

David Broder: I think the Internet and Clinton will crash simultaneously.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee published his now-famous proposal for “‘web’ of notes with links” on March 12, 1989. In a statement to Pew Internet, which has been rolling out reports on the Web’s 25th anniversary recently, Berners-Lee said “we urgently need even more data to inform the current debate on what it will take to enhance and defend the Web.”

Berners-Lee would like “to create a universal ‘Internet Users Bill of Rights,’ ” CNN reports.

James O’Toole collects predictions about the Internet that didn’t quite work out. One of them: “Websites will never replace newspapers. – Newsweek, 1995″

“You know how this one turned out,” O’Toole writes. “You’re reading this online, right?”

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