Thursday, June 28, 2007

Blogs and the establishment media

Glenn Greenwald shares sheds some light on the relevance of blogging and why it "can't get no respect" from the MSM.

One can debate the true influence of blogs and whether they will continue to grow in size and influence. But what seems beyond reasonable dispute is the fact that nothing can match bloggers and their readers in terms of political interest, intensity and energy. And, most importantly, the ability of blogs to be self-sustaining is growing rapidly.

Blogs are increasingly able to engage in their own in original reporting and widely and effectively to disseminate opinion and information without reliance on establishment media organs. If anything, establishment media organs are growing increasingly dependent upon blogs to sustain interest in their products. And one should not underestimate the vital role this development plays in so much of the establishment media's hostility towards bloggers and their endless reliance on caricature to belittle and demonize blogs.


There is simply no question that so much of the establishment media's hostility towards (and purported "concern over") blogs is grounded in the role blogs play in scrutinizing their conduct and offering an alternative to replace the opinion-making monopoly they held previously.


In almost every case, media figures who lash out at bloggers -- purporting to offer some sort of objective, terribly worried critique about the "recklessness" of bloggers -- were themselves the subject of criticism and exposure by blogs. Zengerle is not alone. From Jonathan Chait to Dan Gerstein to Richard Wolffe (seen here valiantly defending the integrity of the White House Correspondents Dinner from the criticism of bloggers), those who have assigned themselves the role of warning about the Dangers of Bloggers are clearly fueled, at least in part, by having been the target of blogger scrutiny and critique.

"Bloggers," like every other group, include some irresponsible members, and can benefit from meaningful and vigorous criticisms. But the vast bulk of anti-blogger hostility -- particularly the criticisms offered by establishment media figures -- are motivated not by any genuine concern over journalistic ethics and responsibility (witness how steadfastly they ignore their own breaches), but instead by the fact that bloggers have shined light on the mistakes and corruption in their profession which previously festered in the dark, and by the fact that blogs are increasingly rendering what they do less important, and in some instances, even irrelevant. This amazingly whiny and substance-free attack on bloggers by Joe Klein in Time -- following months of constant criticism from bloggers about Klein's "journalism" -- illustrates this self-absorbed process perfectly.

For the foreseeable future, large media organizations will be necessary to enable cetain types of critically important investigative journalism. There are some truly superb and courageous journalists whom bloggers cannot replace. Indeed, so much of the blogger critique of the media is grounded in a desire for more of that. And there are many journalists who are receptive to the work of bloggers and use it as a resource. But the overwhelming sentiment towards the work of bloggers from media figures, especially our media stars, is to scorn it except when they ignore it. Their self-interest in relegating blogs to the "unserious" fringes is obvious and overwhelming.

But blogs are on their way to becoming self-sufficient, to enable -- entirely apart from media institutions -- the widespread dissemination of ideas, narratives, and viewpoints that the media excludes from our rotted public discourse. That development plays no small role in the increasing hostility one witnesses towards blogs from those who thought they had an entitlement to conduct and shape -- without any challenge or criticism -- how our political discussions proceed.


Blogger liberal journal man said...

Long live the blogosphere!

5:49 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Amen to that, Brother!

12:37 AM  

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