1) Current events; and
This post concerns the latter.
Almost lost in the tizzy following the launch of the Nihilist in Golf Pants' congressional campaign, was this piece of commentary appearing yesterday in the Strib. Following close on the heels of Nick Coleman's lament to an E & P writer about how dangerous we bloggers are, comes a lament from a highly experienced, ahem, public affairs graduate student and "artist" named Camille Gage, about how dangerous we bloggers are:
The blogosphere is the perfect vehicle for disseminating ideologically driven rants against people and policy. There are no checks and balances, no fact-checkers, no code of ethics, no professional associations or peer review. It is illustrative, and sadly ironic, that the blog lionized for breaking the Rathergate story does not fact-check its posts and apparently has no intention of doing so.
This is, of course in the context of yet another hatchet-job on our very own Hindrocket. (Memo to Little Miss Public Affairs Artist: leave the Power Line bashing to me, as I know what I am talking about. You are an "artist".)
Gage's article echoes Coleman's concerns as quoted in the above linked E & P piece:
[Coleman] says traditional news outlets need to keep tabs on the blogs and shoot back when necessary. "Editors and writers in mainstream media are very naive," he says. "Readership and power of the blogs is increasing." He also claims that the blogs are dangerous because they are not under the same ethical restrictions as mainstream media and seek to stay on the attack, facts be damned.
Gee, it's eerie how on the same page these two are given that they probably don't know each other...
The common thread of the "thinking" exhibited by these two nitwits is the utter lack of understanding of market forces, and their view that the common everyday news and commentary consumer is a drooling idiot.
For example, say a blogger has connections that allows him to get a scoop on some newsworthy item, like say, widespread election fraud in a large Midwestern city. Two months later, the story hits the MSM. This blogger would achieve instant credibility ("blog cred" which is not unlike "street cred"), and the readers would treat the content of that blog appropriately.
On the other hand, say there is a blog that posts something like this regarding the possible arrest of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:
Don't be shocked if the Iraqi government makes a blockbuster announcement on the eve of Sunday's election.
This instance would create a "cred deficit" that would cause this blog's readers to regard assertions posted there with a more jaundiced eye. The blog's traffic would fall appropriately.
Therefore, with this new vernacular, conversations like this are becoming increasingly common:
Blog Reader 1: Hey, you ever read that YummySoftDrink.com blog? They sure have blog cred.
Blog Reader 2: Every day. And good thing too: Booger Line Blog has been running a cred deficit lately.
The market forces that drive a blog's popularity have everything to do with the fact that blog readers are intelligent critical thinkers. Do you, dear reader, get your news solely by surfing to your favorite gravitas-laden blog? Or do you use a multiplicity of sources: clicking through blog links, internet, TV, radio and newspapers? Lefties like Gage and Coleman can't fathom that bloggers and their readers, for the most part, are critical thinkers and diligent consumers. The self-correcting nature of blog commentary, driven by the market forces of blog cred, have flipped the paradigm of information dissemination on its head. The paragons of old media better wise to that fact, otherwise Coleman will become a synonym for "Rather".
There was a time when the Colemans of the world were previously free to ambush some unsuspecting soul, without fact-checking, mind you, (links to chronicles of Coleman's "fact checking" are everywhere. Too much work for me to dig and link. If you don't know about it by now, you haven't been paying attention.) and then run for cover behind the broad "public figure" provisions of New York Times v. Sullivan (376 U.S. 254, 84 S.Ct. 710, 11 L.Ed.2d 686, (1964)). For good measure, they often offered some sanctimonious remark about being the "watchdogs of democracy" or something about so-called "responsible journalism".
Nick Coleman, a man that has no problem afflicting the comfortable, got his undies in a bunch about legitimate criticisms by Power Line, and a hilarious satirical piece at Fraters Libertas. (Newspaper Newlyweds. For some reason, they've removed the link). All of a sudden, the afflictor has become the afflictee. And he doesn't like it too much.
So Nick, either shut your word hole or sue them for libel.
Yeah, that's what I thought. As a public figure yourself, that New York Times v. Sullivan case isn't looking too brilliant now, is it?