wombat_socho (wombat_socho) wrote,

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The press, the blogosphere, and the "war" between them

Jay Rosen has an interesting essay on the conflict between bloggers and the mainstream media, keying off a signed editorial by Chris Satullo, editorial page editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. RTWT, as well as Satullo's original piece and Rosen's earlier essay on Nick Coleman's intemperate blast at bloggers. Oh, yes, skim through the comments. I'll wait until you get back.

I don't agree with Satullo completely by any means, but he's correct that there doesn't have to be eternal conflict between bloggers and the MSM. His point that bloggers rely on the MSM for news collection is very well taken, but he goes astray when he elides the distinction between bloggers who attack media bias because they can't stand the hypocritical claim of objectivity and conservative bloggers who want the Gang of 500 taken out, shot, and impaled as a warning to others who cross the Right-Wing Death Beast Party. There are certainly bloggers in the latter category, but the former type can be found all over the political spectrum, and a lot of us agree that the problem would go away for us if ABC/CBS/CNN/NBC/PBS would just come out of the closet and admit they're a bunch of Democrats.

One of the consequences of the press acting as they have for the last thirty years (if not longer) is that a lot of the public flat out no longer believes what the press tells them. Catholics and evangelical Protestants have long been familiar with the problem of the MSM consistently distorting what is said by their leadership, and President Reagan made use of that distrust by speaking directly to the public as often as he could. Bush the Younger hs taken that one step further, as Rosen observes in this essay. With every j-school graduate and blow-dried talking head lusting to be the next Woodward & Bernstein, they're caught up in a big game of "gotcha", even if they have to make up the evidence.

So what's the future of the media going to be? I'm not one of those people who thinks that newspapers and TV news are going to wither and blow away to be replaced by a million bloggers; bloggers generally don't have the time or inclination to do the kind of omnivorous news collection and publication that AP, UPI, the much-despised Reuters and other press bureaux do as a matter of course. We might see a harder, sharper delineation of the line between news and opinion again, which would be a good thing since maybe the advocacy journalists might serve us all better if they became politicians instead. They're certainly doing a horrible job as reporters. We might also see more local talent on the op-ed pages as well as a more lively argument between the editorial staff and the community, if the newspapers embrace the blogosphere instead of trying to hold it at bay.

We might also get to see some new local newspapers or revitalized old ones in markets where the existing dominant paper suffers from advanced cluelessness. It's happened in New York, and it could well happen elsewhere as people get tired of reading the same old slanted crap.

Well, I know what I think, but what's y'all's opinion?
Tags: culture & politics
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