I’ll Huff and I’ll Puff & …
…. I’ll Blog Your White House Down, Dahlink
This week Jon Stewart’s guest was Arianna Huffington, who founded the Huffington Post, one of the world’s most popular, respected (and successful: 4-5 million visitors per month) blogs.
Blog your secret passions, she insists. “Blogging is not about perfection. Blogging is about intimacy, immediacy, transparency, and sharing your thoughts.” She sounds disconcertingly like Zsa Zsa as she encourages the world and its dog to get blogging.
It’s good to have a celebration of blogging when most of the critique is from MSM hacks attacking it.
Firstly, yes of course there are boring, badly written blogs about someone’s cat. But there are also excellent blogs written by some of the cleverest people; people like Steven Poole at Unspeak; people not owned by governments or newspaper proprietors and who therefore owe them nothing.
Blogs also have an influence on public opinion and on government policy. This is probably the the real reason that the MSM hacks, on their masters’ bidding, attack the blogs – the papers and tv shows have lost the initiative in moulding opinion. Compare Possum Comitatus to Denis Shanahan during the last federal election, for example. It’s likely that bloggers had more effect on opinion in both the Australian and American elections than the mainstream media did.
Newspaper writers have no special gifts or wisdom the rest of us don’t have, just because they work for murdoch or whoever runs fairfax these days. Journalists tend towards mediocrity and safety; towards convention and a moral sensibility stuck in the 50s. They tend to value what’s good for their careers slightly above “the truth”. The top bloggers, like Nicholas Gruen at ClubTroppo, are often polymaths, highly successful in their own fields and share, on their blogs, the wisdom they learn there.
Secondly, if blogging is so bad, why are so many MSM “personalities” taking it up? Even, lord save us, Sir Roger’s erstwhile colleague, Gerrie Doogue, has started blogging. Clearly the MSM managers are adding the blog to journalists’ duty statements because they recognise its importance.
The internet is democratic in an anarchic kind of way and people do what they do without requiring the MSM to give them permission. The MSM don’t own the news. They can’t insist that everyone see the world the way they might like us to (in the interests of their shareholders and advertisers).
That said, we’re not sure we agree with everything Arianna says in her unquestionable enthusiasm, like, “First thoughts, best thoughts. Don’t overthink it.” We and most of the blogs we enjoy reading tend to craft what we write carefully; you know, to be clear, to please the readers. On the other hand, what is written at the time events are happening is, as Arianna says, only the first draft of history. George Bush can at least be consoled that the historical assessment(s) of his Presidency will be written by people not even born yet. And he won’t be around to have to read their condemnations.
UPDATE: Well, we were listening – inadvertently – to ABC local (Sydney) radio this evening and one of the Daddos was interviewing Graeme Philipson, an IT columnist for the SMH. He has written a column titled “Ten Prophecies For the Digital Millennium”. In the column, Prediction 9 is the death of newspapers, partially, of course, at the hands of the…bloggers(!!).
“Around the world, newspapers are shutting down or moving to the web. Blogs are replacing the mainstream media. The profession of journalism, and the way we consume media and get our news, is being transformed.”
In the bit of the interview that we heard he was talking blogging and the influence it has and our ears began to burn because he said (wtteo) bloggers had a greater effect on the outcome of both the most recent Australian and US elections than the (“so-called”) MainStream Media, adding that the analysis by the bloggers was in many cases better than that of the MSM. So what can we say but…Hi Graeme!
[tags]Huffington, Jon Stewart, Daily Show, blogging, Bush, President, Presidency, MSM, main stream media, Gruen, Doogue, history, hisdtorical values, values, political values, merit, quality, truth[/tags]