William Powers in the Atlantic Magazine has an excellent piece on Why Blogging is like tulips (subs needed). The debate about the future of blogging is interesting but he believes it is its current capacity to shake things up that are enervating political life in the US.
And why are we having all this intra-media warfare, anyway? Because we can, and because it’s good for us. Anyone who isn’t exhilarated by the bloggers and the havoc they’re wreaking has lost touch with what American journalism at its best has always been about: making trouble to get at the truth.
Turning the heat up on powerful people, questioning their work, and undermining their authority is the media’s job. Of course, nobody ever expected we’d do it to our own powerful selves, that blogger spies would infiltrate the grand councils of Davos and rat out a media muck-a-muck. How wicked of them.
The current moment is troubling for a lot of people precisely because it’s so cannibalistic. In the last half of the 20th century, the media consolidated a great deal of power for themselves in a tiny tribe of supreme outlets. Since those outlets had strong tendencies toward the center (because that’s where the big audiences and the money are), it was inevitable that a lot of news consumersâ€”those who aren’t so centristâ€”would be unhappy with the product.