Thursday, September 30, 2004

He Who Live in Glass House............Blogs and Big Media


There have been a few articles recently published in major media sources discussing the blogosphere and their success at fact checking big media.

Apparently the intelligentsia in the media are none to pleased that a "nation of ankle biters" has the audacity to challenge their authority on reporting the news.

Two examples- Stephen Levy for MSNBC, and Nick Coleman- Star Tribune.

Both articles want you to believe that the blogosphere is composed of "ankle biters" and (I love this one) "hobby hacks, the Internet version of the sad loners who used to listen to police radios in their bachelor apartments and think they were involved in the world."

I guess being a UT Law Professor, or a married with child Newspaper columnist (Gnat for Pres 2032!) are just exceptions to the rule. But that's the problem. In the blogosphere, there are no rules. That's the cool part about it. Blogs are breaking up authoritarianism within media and government all over the place. China is scared stiff about them, Iran has shut most of them down, and CBS wishes they didn't exist. Sounds to me like the Ivory tower these columnists are living in has cracks all over the foundation, and they think if they can delegitimize the blogospheres influence, the tower will be safe. Big huge boulder-size-rock-through-your-glass-house kind of mistake this is. The one advantage blogs bring to the table is the incredible diversity of opinions and expertise available through them. You can read blogs about Taxes, or wildlife photography or Christ, I don't know, Pokemon.....hey, this is the internet. All three listings I just gave you offered people who are well versed in the field in which they blog about.

James Lileks has the best line about this fact in his bleat article from today-

Put it this way: there are thousands of news junkies out there doing research and analysis for free. In their spare time. For fun. It would kill us to listen? After all, if the Rathergate tale taught us anything, it’s that ordinary people could blow ten-foot holes in the Good Ship CBS simply by comparing their knowledge to the manifest ignorance of the news division’s producers. Because I’ll tell you this about "ordinary" people: they know stuff.

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame was quoted in the Stephen Levy article, and taken entirely out of context. So what does he do? He blogs about it, and challenges the assertions taken by the author. The thrust of his post comes down to this concise analysis-

....the whole point of having a blog is to write about what you think is important, as opposed to what someone else thinks is important. Don't like it? Start your own blog and write about your favorite topics.

Andy at the World Wide Rant also has a few words for Mister Coleman as well, he was none too pleased about this column, and I don't blame him. The arrogance on display in Big media is simply astonishing.

What this whole thing reminds me of is the story of how the Record companies ignored online music and its potential until the records sales started plummeting because people were getting it for free. The sad fact was that had these same companies spent some R&D on constructing legal download sites, they would have made billions of dollars with little to no overhead. Instead they ignored it, and then attempted to shut it down, resulting in them having to spend millions in lawsuits and copyright protection. And they still lost out. People still trade music for free online regularly, and companies ended up creating legal download sites anyways, which are turning out to be reasonably profitable.

This is analogous to blogs vs. Big media because instead of utilizing the expertise available in the blogosphere to um, I don't know -maybe fact check some sources before taking it live on the air? They instead ignored them, and now are playing damage control as the cracks in the tower begin to appear.

Hey guys, it's your funeral.....I say again, Ignore the blogosphere at your own peril dear Media types- we are not going away...

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