"Shut up with your whining"

A couple of interesting links, courtesy of Instapundit. First up a Times article, which seems more than a little apprehensive about the future direction of political blogs, “there are signs that the growing community of amateur online pundits is becoming an influential force“.. Hmmm.. and when you’ve read the recommendations there.. do yourself a favour and read this very astute piece by Charlie Madigan in the Chicago Tribune – “Shut up with your whining and appreciate the fact that after generations of stagnation, something new has arrived. And like all new things, it’s going to take a while for it to work itself out.

The suggestion, from the Times article, would appear to be that political blogs in the UK and Ireland will actively seek to take ‘political scalps’ in the near future (and I don’t think I’m over-emphasising that suggestion, it does appear to be the writer’s intention to raise that issue) –

“British blogging is running as a very close second to America, I think primarily because we are talking about a much smaller population,” said Mr Ireland. “True, no British scalps have been taken yet, but give it time.”

There is one quote in the Times that does merit serious consideration –

“UK[and Irish] bloggers have yet to decide whether blogging is a means to promote transparency in politics or another tool for party campaigning.”

‘A’.. Choose ‘A’!!

Back to Charlie Madigan in the Chicago Tribune (who is already moving beyond the Times’ point), addressing the increasingly shrill complaints about blogs –

Shut up with your whining and appreciate the fact that after generations of stagnation, something new has arrived. And like all new things, it’s going to take awhile for it to work itself out.

Conventional journalism seems aghast that a whole collection of independent voices from all sides of the political spectrum are popping up now to pick and smear and slander and point accusing fingers, wreck careers, cast aspersions and introduce something besides a century-old sense of entitled hierarchy to the formula for news presentation.

On Wonkette, and on the variety in style (and emphasis) of political blogs –

She knows her market and she knows how to get its loyalty and attention. It’s not her fault that the Washington cognoscenti seem drawn to an unusual amalgam of sex fantasy, pretend bad behavior and policy. But it’s to her great credit that she found a way to invite them in for a drink, dirty talk and some imaginary misbehavior.

If she’s not making a bundle of money on it, she’s a fool.

As for the wild-eyed conservatives, welcome aboard.

You finally have a place where you can gas on until you faint.

Sooner or later you will either develop a following or expire from lack of air. Maybe you can ascend to talk radio. Maybe you can disappear. Maybe you can libel someone and get penalized so far back into the economic dark ages that you won’t be able to upgrade your launch platform.

Then someone will say, “Whoops, better straighten out.”

That’s how media has always been, and that’s most likely how it’s always going to be.[my emphasis]

He suggests there’s a useful comparison to be made with previous New Media, a point that has been mentioned in comments on Slugger previously –

It all reminds me of a mix of what I have read about genuinely robust periods in American journalism, the era of the pamphleteers back before everything became so formal, the “yellow kids” era, when the media barons of the 19th and early 20th Centuries were carving up the pie, and maybe the birth of TV, when no one quite knew what to put on the screen.

The difference is that, in those eras, it took decades before media became self-referential enough to develop ethics and standards and journalism schools and thoughtful journals that would deconstruct every aspect of this messy business. Because the medium of blogging is speed-of-light stuff, we have become self-referential and obsessive about what happens well ahead of the historical curve.

Also, it’s so easy an idiot could do it. Witness the fact that many are![emphasis mine]

Quiet at the back!

I’m already wondering whether what I am doing is “right” in the “decent and honest” sense that I have always equated with journalism. Can’t say. I think it’s pretty interesting if you apply the same standards of diligence you apply to newspaper stories, assuming you apply diligence.

The difference is in how you tell it. It’s a lot breezier and a lot easier to read, I think. And you can occasionally say, “Shut up you fatuous gasbag!” or ask, “What do you think?”

Geez, it took me five years at UPI back in the 1970s before I started picking at my own stuff and asking the painfully silly question, “What does this all mean?”

We have barely had the time to grow a real nice navel here in the blogging world, and we’re already gazing at it. Amazing![my emphasis]

And he has some advice for those in the wider media who are complaining about the apparent power of blogs –

We can either sit back and watch this process[the carving up of the media marketplace] continue and wake up some morning to discover our legs have been taken while we slept.

Or we can be fleet.

He also says, returning to my earlier point – Choose ‘A’!!

People who are marketing ideology as truth will eventually go the way of the pamphleteers, I suspect.

What will be left are the people who market truth as ideology.

You want to blog, make that your ideal.[emphasis mine]

Read the Chicago Tribune piece

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