I've been out of the 'sphere for a few days now, and the whole "Does Wonkette deserve her rep?" issue seems to the be the latest hot button. The Lovely and Talented Kate throws down not on Wonkette herself but on the discussion of whether the blogosphere is a proper replacement for big media.
I am big on figurative navel gazing. I tried literal navel gazing and am too disturbed by the results to try that again. In that spirit, I am going to pitch in my figurative two cents in:
Bloggers should not seek to replace big media. Perhaps on the whole the blogosphere has the writers, but its forte is not on the level of data collection. I think the best use of blogging is to magnify the individual voices that occupy the innumerable points of view that surround every story. The rate of feedback between fact, opinion, theory, thesis, antithesis, and synthesis is the true strength of the blogosphere. If one were to rely on big media alone, then only a few points of view, interpretations of events, could be heard and the discussion would happen at the leisurely (yawn) pace that it always has. In the blogosphere you suddenly have a huge crew working at examining all of the permutations of the data in every philosophical framework imaginable. Those results are fed back into the machine, and reactions to the reactions occur. Not only do bloggers fact check the Big Boys, but they also fact check one another. Ideas that don't hold water die quickly, while the ones that survive first read get acid tested in the previously mentioned every viewpoint possible. The blogosphere is an environment for ideas where evolution has been speeded up a thousand-fold.
So, should the blogosphere replace Big Media? Absolutely not. Why should we limit ourselves to the lower level of mere data collection? Let Big Media continue to seek out "What happened?" The blogosphere is much better suited to question the editorial pages of Big Media, the level where the question is not "What happened?" but "What does it mean?"
This thought brought to you by some guy who might have had these ideas years ago, but you would not have known because he didn't feel like dedicating his life to journalism. Viva Blogspot, the primordial ooze of the blogosphere!