Wow, Kurt Andersen is an angry, angry person. Who’s he so mad at? Why, little old US!
Bloggers badly want to believe their time has come. CNN made its reputation by covering the Gulf War, and I am sure someone has declared that the bloggers’ recent career-wrecking achievements-discrediting CBS News’ National Guard documents, forcing CNN to oust Eason Jordan, outing the weirdo Gannon-amount to their new new-media equivalent of Operation Desert Storm.
But just as CNN was never really able to reinvent itself to be indispensable for anything except covering wars and tsunamis, one can imagine the blogs settling in forever at their present level of almost wholly media-on-media impact. For now, bloggers are a second-tier journalistic species. They are remoras. The Times and CNN and CBS News are the whales and sharks to which Instapundit, Kausfiles, and Kos attach themselves for their free rides. (Remoras evolved special sucking disks; bloggers have modems.) If the sharks and whales were to go extinct, what would the blogging remoras do? Evolve into actual reporters? Let a hundred I. F. Stones bloom.
What will take place, I think, is that blogging will be absorbed and then transmuted by larger media entities, something analogous to what happened to theatrical newsreels after their brief heyday in the thirties and forties, when they were subsumed by TV. But in the meantime, until bloggers can commit errors of the Mary Mapes or Eason Jordan kind and then suffer the consequences that Mapes and Jordan did, how seriously can we take the medium?
Via Romenesko, as usual the gift that keeps on giving stupid journalistic wankage.
Let’s address these points in ascending order of idiocy.
But in the meantime, until bloggers can commit errors of the Mary Mapes or Eason Jordan kind and then suffer the consequences that Mapes and Jordan did, how seriously can we take the medium?
So is his problem that bloggers haven’t been fired for mistakes they haven’t yet made? Is his problem that bloggers haven’t made massive mistakes or they haven’t been punished for them? Or that he hasn’t heard about the mistakes? Or the punishment? WTFPOLARBEAR? Get thee to a copyeditor, stat.
Remoras evolved special sucking disks; bloggers have modems.
Is there a blogger out there still using a modem? I have a DSL and Blogger still takes forever to load, never mind my own site. Jesus. If anybody’s on a 14.4 I weep for their tech support fees. Plus is he claiming here that bloggers in some form invented modems? The hell?
The Times and CNN and CBS News are the whales and sharks to which Instapundit, Kausfiles, and Kos attach themselves for their free rides
Free rides? Hey, Kurt, last I heard you were writing columns about stuff you read in the New York Times and on Kos, Instapundit, et al. You were snarking at James Wolcott’s blog. You pay for that stuff yourself? From a reporter I might be willing to take this shit but not from a columnist. How much original reporting went into this piece? Oh, does researching count? Well, then, I fail to see why Kos or even Insta is a “remora” and you’re whatever it is you’ve decided to be today.
Bloggers badly want to believe their time has come.
Kurt, truly, what’s it to you? What earthly consequence could it possibly have for you if Atrios and Kos were to start going around strutting with a big sign that read “BLOGGING IS TEH ROXXORZ?” Not that they would, being not so much as obsessed with the sizes of their journalistic dicks, but is someone holding a gun to your head forcing you to care? The only consequence it’s going to have is the one you allow it to have. If you allow yourself to be affected by it, you’re making a decision, and blaming the bloggers for your being attracted to them like a crow to a shiny quarter on the sidewalk is such a swirling vortex of unadulterated stupid that I don’t even know where to begin.
Seriously, if he’s so above all this, why is he dignifying we remoras or whatever with his sterling prose? Why is he so upset? He puts stuff out into the world and he’s mad because people are commenting on it? He’s mad because people are getting fired for either fucking up a story beyond the point where we will ever know if it’s true or not (in CBS’ case) or saying something stratospherically dumb and then backing down in the face of a challenge to it (Eason Jordan)? Where was his outrage at the people who fucked up? Anybody’s who’s been in and around journalism as long as Kurt has should know from shooting the messenger.
And speaking as a man who now writes for New York Magazine, I don’t know where exactly he gets off telling anybody they’re doomed to assimilation. We’ll do what we want to do with our careers, thanks for the well-meaning advice and all, Kurt.
The more I read defensive superficial nonsense like this, the more I realize that we really do have a different expectation of feedback, bloggers and journalists. I count a post wasted if it doesn’t instigate a wankwar (witness my recommendation of a surfing movie that pissed off, er, chicken owners, or something) or at least get a half dozen responses. I expect comment, criticism, expanded discussion. Kurt seems to think life would be better if nobody said anything about anything they read.
I wonder if he has a similar issue with those who make a living reviewing books. After all, those reviewers are just taking a free ride, sucking off the author’s creativity and pointing out mistakes and weak spots. I wonder if he dislikes art critics, whose negative assessments can kill a show. Theater critics go about blithely pointing out that the lead actress was obviously drunk and the male lead couldn’t remember his lines. How dare they? Why don’t they just assimilate into “first-tier” artistic species already?