Alex Beam at the Boston Globe must enjoy hate mail, because his
latest colum which
attacks blogging is going to cause him to get lots of it. What Beam and his ilk
don’t understand is that the old notion that people want filtered, sterile, and
ideologically skewed Old Media. It’s not true anymore – it hasn’t been in a long time.
Why is it that people are leaving Old Media in droves, going to new outlets like
FoxNews, blogs, and other sites? It’s because they provide a new outlook. There
aren’t a lot of Andrew Sullivans or
Glenn Reynolds in the Old Media. (In
fact, there aren’t any for the most part.)
It’s not that the media is irrelevant – I still read the Washington Post
and the Christian Science Monitor for hard news. But why read the stale
old crap that fills the opinion pages when I can get more voices, better analysis,
in a format that rewards quick thinking, good writing, and cogent analysis? The
opinion pages haven’t been up to the quality of the bloggers for a long time,
despite being bastions of "quality journalism."
Finally, blogs are also the ultimate bullshit detectors. Paul Krugman rails
against Enron but takes their money – blogs are on the case long before the
rest of the media. Alex Beam takes an April Fools Joke and misses the point –
the blogs nail him for it. Even President Bush isn’t immune – bloggers like myself
have criticized his policies on trade and campaign finance reform with better
arguments than the media has used.
In the end, Sturgeon’s Law still applies – 90% of blogs are crap, just as 90%
of anything is probably crap. But the 10% that make up the cream of the crop
are some of the most dynamic, thought-provoking, and rapid sources for
opinion and news analysis in the Internet age.