Thursday, September 15, 2005

I Heart Hunter

Just a morsel from: Opinions No Longer Free: Somehow, We'll Soldier On. (Be sure to catch the whole thing).

A lot of hay has been generated over the New York Times' decision to put their columnists' contributions behind a subscription-only wall. At the risk of stunning people with my incisive opinion:

I don't care. Seriously: I really don't care.

I'm not one to tout blogging as being as significant a force as some triumphalists assert. It does, however, perhaps show that the ancient art of Having An Opinion is not necessarily something limited to the cocktail party set. And I am very, very tired of the media's cocktail party set telling me that I should be paying attention to the media's cocktail party set.

...Blogging will never replace actual journalism, or even make "inroads" into it, whatever that common assertion is supposed to mean. One is simply a medium; the other is a profession. (It is true that many of the top blogs are conducting actual journalism -- Josh at Talking Points Memo and Steve Clemons at The Washington Note are two examples that immediately come to mind. But the internet is merely one possible conduit for journalism; a journalist is a journalist, regardless of how or where they publish their work.)

Blogging is, however, directly akin to many of the musings of the opinion scribes of various television and print media -- though undoubtedly with more swearing involved. And it is having an impact on that discourse, by broadening the conventional wisdom beyond what once was the purview of a very narrow and intellectually highly inbred set of people. Instead, now "conventional wisdom" is becoming shaped, though still at this point only marginally, by a set of people who by geographic and intellectual diversity have some decent aggregate claim on that title. Conventional wisdom not by political figures who have settled into lucrative second careers talking about how clever they are, or by think-tank leaders and followers who have just written yet another book that conveniently and shallowly backs up whatever thesis they've been hawking for the last ten years, but by a much broader coalition of, in general, the same Regular Folk that columnists like Brooks spend so much time trying to dissect and comprehend.

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