Monday, January 13, 2003


CAN BLOGGING SAVE US?

The forth estate, right now, is pitiful. The mainstream media is not doing its job of 1) accurately reporting the news 2) giving serious, reasoned, critical analysis of policy. Every policy decision is swept under the proverbial carpet, the media quickly moving onto the next big thing without engaging with the ramifications of policies. As a result, the American public is often not given the information they truly need to be active citizens. Instead, we get programs like CNN's TalkBackLive simply regurgitating things that most people already know, or talking heads arguing only the obvious perspectives. The media should be pointing out things we don't know already, not simply reiterating things like "there are people who hate America." Americans need a media that challenges us and our system, that makes us form intelligent opinions and perhaps change for the better. It is vital to the functioning of our government, as pointed out by Thomas Jefferson.

At the risk of sounding too optimistic a la Tom Friedman in his book _The Lexus and the Olive Tree_, I argue that the internet can help change the nature of reporting today's news. This isn't exactly a green idea, but I further categorize my comment by saying that blogging, specifically, can accomplish this, due to the relative simplicity of participation. By sheer virtue of competition, news programs are going to have to keep up with the intellectual trend of the amateur political columnists that are bloggers. In a January 5, 2003, post, Jane Galt stated:
"Blogs just made the mainstream -- I just saw Michael Barone mention Andrew Sullivan, Josh
Marshall, and Instapundit on the McLaughlin Group."
One comment made on Galt's site after this post pointed out that blogs were referred to in an article in a December 2002 issue of The Economist. Such mass media citations of blogging and bloggers points to a new confluence arising, and I personally think that the mainstream news outfits will be all the better for it.

More interesting is the fact that bloggers and their sites become popular through word of mouth, and not usually through commercial advertising. Tip cups on sites that allow readers to personally donate some money to the blogger bring power back to the people themselves in a way that the major news networks would find impossible to duplicate. Ordinary people control what gets read and discussed. In terms of discussing ideas in our society, this is a huge leap forward.

and in a related story, we here at allthingshumantaketime.blogspot.com would like to use this time to congratulate our fellow blogger johnny bardine on the impressive accomplishment that is having one of his writings argued on the site of mr. matthew yglesias. for those readers who may not be cognisant of the trend that is political blogging, suffice to say that mr. bardine, even if only cited to be argued with, has now reached the olympic-tryout stage of blogging. congratulations again sir, and i will buy you a beer next weekend.

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