February 28th 2005
Sure, they scurry around the outskirts of journalism like lab mice and can make more noise than a garbage truck at 6 a.m. Still, the question persists: Are they truly journalists — or just amateur commentators?
Just what is a journalist, truly, Jon? You mention in your lead that you’re not sure whether you can “completely trust [bloggers] to be accurate or comprehensive or analytical or, especially, fair.” Well, if we could trust you and your j-school buds to be accurate, comprehensive, analytical or, especially, fair, we wouldn’t have much to blog about.
What exactly is Jon afraid of? Besides losing the relevance of his job, I mean. Here it is:
The danger is that bloggers are going to embrace the worst aspects of tabloids. That means, as the saying goes, they’ll throw their content against a wall, and if it sticks, they’ll publish it, no matter how wild or trivial it might be.
The greater danger is that people will lose their minds, and no longer be able to discriminate between what they want to read, what they don’t want to read, who they want to trust, and who they don’t want to trust. The fundamental problem with Friedman’s thesis is that it is written by someone who apparently doesn’t believe in the intelligence of the people and the free-wheeling competition of the marketplace. A trait that is all too common among the liberal reporters who draw their paychecks from MSM.
The looney blogs will attract a few looney readers. The trustworthy blogs with proven dependability and relevance will dominate.