Monday, February 14, 2005

Oh, and a parting rant

Reading BuzzMachine these days makes my head hurt, because apparently I must be at war with myself: The ink-stained-newspaper-wretch me is a power-elite-snob control freak who wants to lord his superiority over the simple, truth-loving citizens of America; the blogger is an irresponsible fanatic out for blood, yet without a considered thought in his head.

The whole tone of this debate makes me ill. Look, I've got a litany of bitches about newspapers, but some of the people out there screaming bloody murder in the blogmob really DON'T know their ass from a hole in the ground. That doesn't discredit the smart critiques of the modern media, nor does it validate the media smugness that drives us all nuts. But please: "the bloggers" is a dumb label when you consider that it includes everyone from Little Green Footballs to Jay Rosen to my teenage stepson and his girlfriend.

There's a sentiment out there that the destruction of the media by the blogosphere is an exciting thing. There are sweeping statements like "Off-the-record is dead!"

Oh really? And that's a GOOD thing?

Let's see how you feel about off-the-record when a hostile journalist, citizen or otherwise, is calling you for a quote on a story that he's got completely backward. See if you don't want to go "off the record" for a moment to try to explain to him where he's gone astray.

If you want the truth, which we all say we do, then get to know what truth looks like, dammit. If everything is on the record, all the time, for attribution, you're going to get precious little of it.

I'm all for a media/cultural revolution, but I remember my history. Most revolutions do NOT led inexorably to the Bill of Rights, brothers and sisters. They're far more likely to lead to Robespierre or The Gang of Four than to liberty, brotherhood and equality.

I'm sick of watching great ideas be squandered.

There's a simple solution to every complex problem -- and it's wrong.