Friday, February 18, 2005

Blogs vs The Media (buy your tickets now)

I love it when we find ourselves in the midst of an historical battle of some kind. And we find ourselves in the midst of a blogs vs media battle royale. In the 90s it was just figuring out that unknown frontier known as the world wide web. And I still swear behind that one late night in the library back in my early college days when I saw a tall bearded man, who looked an awful lot like Al Gore go running out the front doors from the dimly lit basement where I had seen the figure all semester, screaming, "I've done it, I've done it!" Anyways, I will admit that I had only been introduced to the blogosphere last summer, when co-creator Scotty C told me that we should incorporate the angle of blogs into our show. Now, it is pretty clear to see we are heading into a very new world of information and the internet. And the most entertaining part of it all, is to watch the newsmedia's coverage of blogs go from quaint story to "oh shit, Houston we have a problem." The media, especially the cable news channels have finally become so lame and lacking of any true integrity any more, that thousands, by the day are turning to blogs for real journalism. Conservatives, liberals, and moderates are fed up with 24/7 coverage of the Michael Jackson trial, and are showing that they are craving actual stories with substance. And bloggers are starting to beat actual journalists to the punch on many stories. CNN is more frequently reporting stories that were first broken on blogs. The popularity of the Howard Dean campaign last year wasn't even known to the media for a long time, because his poll numbers were not showing his growing support on the internet. The CBS National Guard memo debacle and the recent "Jeff Gannon" soap opera, which is unbelievably entertaining and the fall of Eason Jordan after he made controversial comments were stories broken solely by the blogosphere before being picked up by the "media". As you peruse through the various top blogs and compare their posts with the days stories of say the New York Times, which is a fine newspaper, don't get me wrong, there's no contest. The blog articles have more passion, more facts, deeper insight, more complexities, and the biggest asset, they cut through the bullshit. So the question is, will blogs become dangerous for various reasons, "yes". There's no two ways about it, there really is no accountability to the bloggers, except by other blogs, but then it turns into a he said/she said drama. And the mainstream media will think it is too beneath them to keep in check the blogs because then they'd be admitting they are second tier. And most blogs do have either a right or left slant to them and as blog traffic grows, it will undoubtedly be tempting to try sway opinion rather than stick to the facts. Not to mention the fact that if more of us start turning to blogs for our news, we will be getting less and less of the full story behind each issue. Our only hope is that this blog phenomenon scares the hell out of the mainstream media to where they pick themselves up from their path of complacency and try and regain the trust and intrigue of the public. There are a lot of good reporters out there and they know who they are and they are trying, but editors are not in tune with their reporters, because the editors job is always on a string being held by the corporation that owns the outlet. It's tough, but the free market when it comes to news, which is finally being pulled back by the people will persevere.

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