Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New v. Old Media

West Virginia's very own Don Surber of the Charleston Daily Mail has a few thoughts on New Media v. Old Media and the roll of blogs and bloggers in keeping the MSM straight:

I have got a great boss who lets me do my thing here. But some of my colleagues, privately, remain skeptical of blogs because there is no editor. Bloggers can write anything, blah, blah, blah.

Glenn Reynolds the Instapundit put another nail in that canard with a post on an AP story by Jim Krane on Monday. The story said, “The United States is no longer bound by Kyoto, which the Bush administration rejected after taking office in 2001.”

But in fact (and Instapundit cited a Wikipedia entry) the Clinton administration never submitted the Kyoto Protocol to the Senate for approval and the Senate voted 95-0 in support of the Byrd-Hagel resolution which rejected Kyoto.

Given the stonewalling over the fake Captain Jamil Hussein — Iraqis have no police captain with that name and AP will not admit it used a pseudonym as a source — AP editors have forgotten to protect their agency’s credibility. They have to work to earn it every day.

Just like the bloggers.

Well. Sorta. Obviously I side to some extent with the bloggers. I am no where in the realm of Instapundit--whom I very much admire--nor Don Surber, or Sissy Willis, or LGF, Powerline and the list continues. However, I suppose that after three + years of blogging, it would be safe to use the term "blogger" in describing me.

Unlike some of the blogger out there, and unlike news-talk Guru Rush Limbaugh, I remain confident that the so called "Main Stream Media" (MSM) has a role to play and remains an important, even if currently less relevant, institution of the United States. That isn't to say that bloggers don't have a role to play. As Surber notes, bloggers like Instapundit and LGF play an important role in correcting misstatements and out right lies published in major news outlets such as the AP.

My problem here is that some members of the blogosphere seem to suggest that because a blogger says it, as, for the most part, independent 'journalists,' it must be true. He even hints that the blogs may be a step above the MSM in the hierarchy of information diffusion. I disagree. Bloggers, myself included, may right wrongs, point out inconsistencies and biases and offer our perspectives which often time contradict those published daily in the mass media, but at the end of the day the majority of us really have no background in journalism. We rarely--aside from LGF or Michelle Malkin, who, by the way, is also a paid media member--break "new news." And so when we examine the role of bloggers from this perspective, it seems a little more clear as to why those who work in the MSM have come to resent and even to hate bloggers. I imagine it goes something like this: "How dare these blogger who have no training or formal knowledge in journalism propose to lob themselves in a group comparable to us. They are not as good as us."

Instead, I propose that we--bloggers--are not "new media" members. We are not some sort of reinvented media that strives to perfect the art of journalism. Instead, we are playing the role as the first independent MSM "watchdog groups" in performing the tasks I outlined above. From this perspective, the role of the blogger becomes more acceptable to me. This more clearly defined role should be what bloggers strive to succeed at. Maybe I'm wrong?

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At 12:05 AM, Blogger Ebayer said...

You have captured the essense of bloggers in this post better than anthing I have ever read.

Except for Drudge (who is not, technically, a blogger) the blogosphere does not reveal "new" things, but does do an excellent job of being the MSM watchdog.

Keep up the good work. This is a very interesting and insightful post.


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