So the Tent, where I wound up holed up most of the afternoon once the speeches started, having exhausted my battery and figured out that my spare was fried, was like a zoo. Bloggers being the exotic animals therein; I was interviewed several times which was trippy (I was well-trained to stay OUT of the story, not jump into it) and filmed by I don’t know who a whole lot for b-roll that doubtless will show up in some CNN segment about “Who is on Your Blogosphere?” or “Your YouTube — Show Me It.”
Upstairs, Arianna Huffington was talking to David Sirota (the other new crush of the day; damn, can he blow a brick wall down) and Paul Krugman about progressive voices in media and she said something I thought illustrated this very well. She said that new media was actually taking back the original purpose of journalism — the search for the truth. She said modern day journalists (and I think this is truer of the punditry than of Joe Schmoe working for the Beaver County Tidbit) have cast themselves as “Pontius Pilate media,” pretending to a detachment that is not objectivity but is instead a desire to cover their asses. “They see the journalistic role as neutral rather than as bringing out the truth.”
And I was looking at all these people filiming people writing and taking pictures and talking to each other and to various movers and shakers in the party, and wanting very much to tell the TV hairdos and the local print folks, look, we do the same thing.Sinfonian related a tale on his radio show (on which I blathered a bit after the coffee had begun to wear off) about being stuck in the hotel lobby with a Tampa Tribune columnist who was typically dismissive and defensive about bloggers, talking about how we leech off traditional media while running them down. For some, that’s certainly true.
For others, though, we’re taking our inspiration from the best of them, and shoving all the rest aside. We’re doing the same things they’re doing, we’re looking around and seeing what we see, and telling people who aren’t here what it looks and sounds and smells and yes, feels like, putting you in a room you’re not in. That’s all this is, that’s all it ever was, and if we have to be more aggressive than our salaried counterparts, there’s a part of me that is very sad about that, that we have to do the things that aren’t being done because we can’t count on what had once been a reliably adversarial muckraking press.
But it’s overshadowed by the part of me that’s proud, that we are doing these things, because they need doing, and I don’t care if you’re doing major investigative work like TPM or taking funny pictures of protesters (like I will be once I find those Knights of Columbus dudes again), you’re doing the same thing. You’re telling stories. That’s all this is, from its roots to today, that’s all it’s ever been.