Sunday, September 26, 2004

Go, Team!

Gee whiz, folks. Relax! There's plenty of news, and news audience to go around.

The whole idea of "Us vs. Them," or, more precisely, "Bloggers vs. Mainstream Media" is just another one of those growing pains that we experience in this world every few decades (give or take). Take, for example, Michelle Malkin's missive regarding the fear and even hatred of any given conservative voice within the so-called MSM:

"Blethen and his ilk claim to support diversity of opinion, but they have shown little inclination to support the airing of conservative voices such as those featured on KVI, KTTH, Clear Channel, and my employer, Fox News. For those who truly value diversity of opinion, these media conglomerates have turned out to be a blessing."

A blessing, indeed. Many years ago, before I really cared about such things, Bruce Herschenson was a political reporter for our local ABC affiliate on radio and TV. He had previously been an advisor to both Nixon and Reagan and later failed in an attempt to run for United States Senator in California (to Barbara Boxer, of all people!). Shortly after leaving KABC, Bruce was paired up with notoriously liberal reporter Bill Plant to offer a point-counterpoint analysis of current political affairs. As I remember it (Google didn't help me this time) Bruce was labelled "conservative." Bill wasn't labelled at all. Funny how a fair and balanced political show would have to label the conservative. "Here, in its natural habitat, we see the increasingly rare 'Conservative Commentator.' Remember not to feed it."


But back to my point. Bloggers occasionally seem to struggle with this idea that they, like Dangerfield, can't get no respect from the legacy media types. In my opinion, this just strengthens their relative position in the world of news and communication today.

Ask serious blog surfers why they read blogs, even the specialized ones that have little if anything to do with reality, and you're likely to get this response: They tell me what I want to know faster than the big guys. Poliblog surfers have it even worse. They're likely to throw in a few facts about how much deeper analysis they're likely to find regarding any given topic of the day. At least, the hotter topics. I've yet to see a good, in-depth analysis of either candidate's health care plan that doesn't confuse me into a hopeless slumber. Still, neither have I seen such an analysis from, say, PBS.

Wanna know why I love blogs? Precisely because they aren't the big guys. Right around the time Cronkite, Reasoner, Brinkley and others began to retire from the ring, I started to see major news anchors for what they are. Stuffed shirts with looks groomed to depict hard-nosed yet sensitive reporters. One of them even goes so far as to call himself "This Reporter." The ultimate empirical reflexive adjective. When Dave Barry, on the other hand, talks about "this blog," I just keep reading to see how soon he gets a rebuttal from his "stealth bloggerette" (answer: pretty darn'd quick!).

Blogs don't have to be stuffed shirts to have a following. They can often sell it on personality before the casual reader finally sees that they have a serious side as well. Take Politburo Diktat as an example. Does anyone who first comes across this blog say, "Hey. Here's a deep piece of political analysis. Better pay attention." Or, as it happened in my case, do they first say, "What's with the deader'n'a doornail Soviet schtick? This guy is nutty as a fruitcake. I'll check on him again tomorrow!"

Myself? I'm pretty much unnoticeable except to my family and a few friends. This is as it should be. I don't provide a lot of heavy political analysis because I don't have the head for it. I have as much analysis as I need to keep myself and my family informed. I do, of course, have opinions about a broad range of topics, and I certainly consider myself to be conservative in my personal political spectrum. But worry about competing with the Big Guys?

No worries, Mate.

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