September 12, 2004

To the Mainstream Press: We won't roll over and play dead like you'd like us to.

Writers of blogs, and by extension, those who read them regularly, have been referred to as geeks, losers, amatuers and hacks by those in the mainstream press.

Yet, you see them falling all over themselves to write a column of some form to place on the web on a daily basis. You seem them trying to imitate those of us in the blogosphere.

Now, with Dan "Kenneth" Rather's gaffe ("What's the typeface, Kenneth?") and the ensuing scandal that has erupted as a result, the blogosphere and the writers in it are finally being recognized as the formidable force that we are.

In case the mainstream isn't listening, an open letter to the mainstream press by regular poster Pukin Dog on Free Republic is drawing the battle lines in permanent ink.

We have watched you for years try to tell us how to think, what to think, who to vote for and what to believe based solely on your own agenda. In past years, you have come to think of yourselves as the fourth branch of government, the movers and shapers of opinion and the arbiters of truth.

The world is on to you.

Persons with knowledge and experience are not only ignoring you, but replacing you as sources of information. These sources, which don't need anything but their personal experiences and skills when sharing information with the public; persons who have spent more time learning and doing than you ever will, are generally more accurate and informative than you know how to be.

The Internet and Blogosphere would scare you, if you were smart enough or honest enough to know better.

People with practical knowledge and experience discussing current and historical events with more ability than you, are sharing more factual and in-depth information, and at a rate which you could never compete. We are relegating many of you to overpaid gossip mongers, while you don't want to acknowledge that we are eating your lunch.

You can no longer tell us anything, and expect to be believed without question. You can no longer mix your agendas into your 'news' and expect to get away with it. We may not catch you every time, but eventually we will, and then many of you are going to have to get real jobs. And when you do, you are going to need more than the ability to mislead, lie, slander and ignore people who don't agree with you. In the future, expect for Blogs like Instapundit and others to be on you like a fly on stink when you attempt to mislead us.

You can join us in working to share information with a hungry audience, or you can be replaced. We don't need Nielson, just a web site and an idea. Instead of insulting the remainder of your dwindling viewers, readers and listeners, why don't you just agree to cut the crap, stop the parroting of the NY Times long enough to do your own work, and finally decide to become REAL journalists again.

The Max Headroom-style sciencef fiction of personal reporting as part of a "zillion channel" universe is not as far removed from today as one might like to think. Each of us in the blogosphere controls our own "station." We enjoy and particiapte with our own "audience." Most of us talk together and work together, though we are more often than not separated by literally hundreds or thousands of miles.

We have become our own "gatekeepers" in this "new normal." And until/unless the mainstream recognizes it, they're doomed to a slow death in the form of mediocrity.

Welcome to the new media. Welcome to the future.

Posted by mhking at September 12, 2004 01:53 PM

("What's the typeface, Kenneth?") - Now we know; REM stand for Rather's Election Manipulation.

Being a part of the Blogosphere is a wonderful thing. The sooner the talking heads figure that out, the better for all. Who was it that said something to the effect that an informed citizenry is essential to Democracy? Rather does not seem to believe in that principle; not that I am questioning his patriotism, no, not that.

Posted by: Richard @ TBR at September 12, 2004 05:35 PM

Perhaps this year (2004) will be remembered as the birthdate of the 5th estate.

Posted by: cole at September 13, 2004 08:22 AM

I love the appellation of Max Headroom style journalism!

From an unabashed 80s Generation Reaganite!

Posted by: Sharon Ferguson at September 15, 2004 02:17 PM

One thing we all must remember if blogging becomes the fifth estate as it was put. We need to thank the "creator" of the internet as I do now.
Thank you, Mr. Gore. Without this new invention of yours none of this would have occurred and CBS would never have been found out.

Posted by: D. Moore at September 20, 2004 04:06 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?