Wednesday, February 2

Self-Serving | Bloggers get set for State of the Union

What nonsense:
"[Blogs] are a further evolution of media generally," said Nick Schulz, editor of the online magazine TechCentralStation, which serves as a gateway for bloggers analyzing the president's speech. 'There are certain limitations to media--print or TV. One thing I think blogs do is to provide an intelligent, shorthand way of quickly getting into issues more deeply.' TechCentralStation says it will provide a 'one-stop shop' of links to live bloggers posting on their Web sites. will carry blogs by CNN political commentators Paul Begala and Robert Novak. Tens of thousands of other political bloggers will take up their keyboard to comment, criticize and defend partisan politics.

I smell an undiclosed mutual marketing agreement by which CNN gets blog-hipster cred for Paul Begala and Robert Novak and TechCentralStation--a neoconservative talking points factory by the neocon law professor who brought you Instapundit--gets New Journalism cred for himself and rags like The National Interest he writes for.

Great. Lobbyists who find it more convenient to bypass the press instead of trying to trick and suborn it in order to influence opinion on public policy, like the think-tank-subsidized corporate defense team at Powerline. See Blog of the Year Goes to Extremes (Nick Coleman, Star Tribune):

These guys pretend to be family watchdogs but they are Rottweilers in sheep's clothing. They attack the Mainstream Media for not being fair while pursuing a right-wing agenda cooked up in conservative think tanks funded by millionaire power brokers. They should call themselves "Powertool." They don't speak truth to power. They just speak for power. The lads behind Powerline are a bank vice president named Scott Johnson and a lawyer named John Hinderaker. If you read Powerline, you know them better by their fantasy names, Big Trunk (that's Johnson) and Hind Rocket (Hinderaker). I will leave it to the appropriate professionals to determine what they are compensating for, but they have received enormous attention from the despised Mainstream Media and deserve more. I wish I didn't have to do it, because I already get ripped a lot on the site, which thankfully also has had some nice photos of bikini-clad candidates for Miss Universe to keep me company. But I accept Powerline's contempt; I am only a Mainstream Media man, while Big Trunk and Hind Rocket are way cool. They blog. I work for a dopey old newspaper committed to covering the news fairly while Powerline doesn't make boring commitments. They are not Mainstream Media. They are Extreme Media. Call them reliable partisan hacks.

Do you really need to read a blog about something you just watched on TV? I guess it's nice that everyone, not just journalists, get invited to Spin Alley afterwards, but really, if we all just stopped going, maybe they'd all stop spinning. Filling airtime and column inches with predictable sound bites from the usual suspects does not add value to coverage, and it's lazy, but news outlets do it because time is short and doing news coverage right gets expensive.

That's why the MSM likes to inflate the reputation of the partisan hacks (Jon Stewart's description of Begala and Carlson) it trots out as distinguished observers of the contemporary scene. It doesn't want us to know that it finds it too freaking hard to package less telegenic, sometimes quite boring, people who might have something actually pertinent to say.

10,000 bloggers typing in front of their television: this is the New Journalism? I can see the television fine from here (it's tuned to the Independent Film Channel's showing of Andy Warhol's Dracula, which the wife is deeply into). 10,000 bloggers blogging Network TV is a noise machine trying to convince us that its the Nielsen Ratings. 10,000 bloggers going out into the world and tell me about 10,000 different things I can't see just fine for myself is the New Journalism, but no one seems to be paying much attention to that.


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