In truth, "blogs" are nothing more than a relatively new way of distributing information, just as radio, television, newsprint, and conventional Web sites once were. Blogs differ from other media in that they provide links for easy referencing, they're more easily and quickly updated (and, consequently, many times less carefully edited), they allow for more interaction between reader and publisher, and there's virtually no barrier to entry — meaning just about anyone can start his or her own blog. You don't need to win the approval of an editor. You don't need start-up money from a publisher. You don't need a radio tower.
Bloggers also can operate outside the "rules" and standards — in terms of attribution, verification of sources, objectivity and concerns for libel and lawsuits — that are supposed to govern traditional journalism.
Now, I don't even own a TV right now, and I've never had cable, so I don't really watch Fox News. So I have no idea who this Radley Balko is, and I've never heard of his blog "The Agitator". But what Mr. Balko fails to note is that if the Has-Been Media actually operated under the rules that they were supposed to, we wouldn't have CBS's Memogate, or the Jayson Blair scandal at the New York Times. What I get from Mr. Balko is nothing more than an egotistical sense that we bloggers should just stay where we belong and not bother the ivory tower that he and the rest of the establishment media lives.
What a crock.
For one, the blogosphere has never tried to be the same as the Lame-Stream media. We don't want to be like Mr. Balko and his cohorts. However, if the Mass Media had been doing what journalists are SUPPOSED to be doing, political blogs and media watching blogs would have never come into being. They would be nothing but efforts by fringe lunatics like DU. But when a blog is the first piece of media to break a story about a presidential affair, when a blog is the first to show that one of the major broadcasting networks is hoisting a fraud on American TV viewers, then I'd say that you had better start giving those people running blogs some credit. By downplaying blogs, Mr. Balko is in effect playing up the so-called Mainstream Media. And right now, the Mainstream Media carries as much significance with me as a dusty pile of rat droppings, and my opinion of them is dropping on a daily basis.
Mr. Balko is just the latest in a long line of has-been media clowns to try and put down the blogosphere. He won't be the last, and he'll be just as wrong as the rest of them. I'd say I'm surprised that a member of Fox News would be just another ignorant asshole, but I'm not.
Because they're part of the Has-Been Media themselves.