Thursday, April 13, 2006

We Watch the Watchers

Writing in Reason, Matt Welch bewails what he perceives to be the lack of "critical thinking" and "...collegial yet brutal peer review," in the world of blogs today (I really hate the neologism "blogosphere"). Evidently, Welch expected the internet to open the doors to a golden age of unbiased citizen journalists, fearlessly breaking stories and offering criticism from a non-partisan viewpoint. Welch's plaint is reminiscent of the Communist Manifesto in its complete lack of insight into human nature.

I used to think blogs would transform ideologues into nonpartisan truth-seekers. Man, was I wrong. - Matt Welch

Yes, you were. - The Dread Pundit Bluto
It's unrealistic to expect bloggers to do something that's never been done. The mainstream media have already shown everybody that unbiased journalism simply doesn't exist - they just won't admit it yet. So it was natural for bloggers to shake out into warring camps along political lines. After all, the role of pretending to be unbiased was already being filled by traditional journalists. But the job of media watchdog was open (at least on the Right, the Lefty blogs serve more as traditional media cheerleaders).

Welch's claim of a lack of critical thinking and brutal peer review is ridiculous, but certainly most popular blogs have no lack of partisan and ideological views. So Welch believes that blogs and bloggers have failed to live up to their initial promise. That was, however, a promise that existed only in his own mind. It was like hoping that a rottweiler puppy would grow up to be a toy poodle.

But blogs and bloggers have certainly lived up to their role as media watchdogs. Look at how the mighty in the traditional media have been forced to confront their own false promise of even-handedness.

Just ask Dan Rather or Eason Jordan.

You might ask Welch himself in a few weeks; he's taken a job at the Los Angeles Times. I'll be keeping my eyes on you, Matt.

Via The QandO Blog.