Day: May 4, 2006

Yet another perspective on blogging

In the continuing bloggers vs. journalism debate, there are, of course, those who believe blogging is a worthwhile challenge to traditional journalism.

Writes Greg Sargeant in The American Prospect:

In recent weeks, one member after another of the D.C. media establishment has gone out of his way to depict bloggers as hysterical, angry and destructive. To hear them tell it, bloggers sitting at their computers are akin to squealing brats in high-chairs chucking baby food at their sober, serious elders — i.e., major figures at the established news organizations.

Not long ago, The Washington Post’s Jim Brady lamented “blog rage.” Joe Klein’s latest column complained about “vitriol” and “all the left-wing screeching.” Former Bill Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry recently told us that reporters are complaining they feel “intimidated” because “most of the blogosphere spends hours making them feel that way.” And a CBS opinion piece recently asked: “Does noise trump contemplation in the blogosphere?”

What’s all this really about? These skirmishes, obviously, are part of a much larger war between established opinion-makers and bloggers, in which the establishment figures continually profess themselves dismayed by the tone of the blogosphere. It’s a conflict that isn’t going away anytime soon. But guess what: This fight doesn’t really have anything to do with the “tone” of the blogosphere at all. Rather, it’s actually about the efforts of bloggers to establish the legitimacy of their medium, and about the reluctance of major news organizations and their employees to recognize that legitimacy.

Establish the “legitimacy of their medium?” Isn’t establishing legitimacy something you expect in the more traditional world. Again, this raises the question of whether or not blogging, like the Internet, is trying to become too legitimate for their own good.

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