Hot Bliggedy-Blog

Lev Grossman in TIME magazine, on PowerLine's CBS/Dan Rather/Bush documents revelation:

If you haven't read one, it's hard to describe what makes blogs so special. There's just something about the rhythm and pace of a blog that feels intuitively right. You don't have to sit through fake-cheerful news-team chitchat or wade through endless column inches. It takes about 20 sec. to read a typical blog post, and when you're finished you've got the basic facts up to the minute plus a dab of analysis and a dash of spin. If you're not satisfied, you can click the link for more. If you are, you can go back to checking your e-mail and jiggering your spreadsheets or whatever you do for a living. This is news Jetsons-style. If it were any neater and quicker, it would come in a pill.
Where will they go from here? It's hard to imagine that bloggers will be content to remain media gadflies, sniping at the giants from below. In fact, it's entirely possible that they will ultimately be assimilated into the mainstream media they now openly despise. They'll start accepting advertising (Power Line already does), they'll go on Leno, they'll lose their outsider cred and their aura of driven-snow purity. The best bloggers will be hired away by the hated MSM, bought off with Op-Ed columns and cable talk shows. And if bloggers do become Big Business, they will lose their free pass and become subject to the same scrutiny that 60 Minutes is under. After all, it's not as if Power Line never makes a mistake. It's just that right now, because Scott Johnson isn't as famous as Dan Rather, the expectations and the stakes aren't very high. That will change.
The story of how three amateur journalists working in a homegrown online medium challenged a network news legend and won has many, many game-changing angles to it. One of the strangest and most radical is that the key information in "The 61st Minute" came from Power Line's readers, not its ostensible writers. The Power Liners are quick, even eager, to point this out. "What this story shows more than anything is the power of the medium," Hinderaker says. "The world is full of smart people who have information about every imaginable topic, and until the Internet came along, there wasn't any practical way to put it together."

Now there is. A phenomenon like "The 61st Minute" is the result of the journalistic equivalent of massively parallel processing. The Internet is a two-way superhighway, and every Power Line reader is also a Power Line writer, stringer, ombudsman and editor at large. There are 100,000 cooks in the kitchen, and more are showing up all the time. Call it the Power Line effect. Conventional media may have more readers than blogs do, but conventional media can't leverage those readers the way blogs can. Want a glimpse of the future of blogs? The more popular blogs are, the stronger they get. And they're not getting any less popular.

Leveraging readers into reporters. The masses producing the news. A keyboard, the key to credibility. Everyone a spin doctor.

That, my friends, is why I am so grateful for this news. There's enough paranoid right-wing hate spew on my radio dial. I'll take a gated community in the blogosphere as long as I can get it.

What they break isn't news, it's a Klan rally on a web server. And they got elected; what the hell are they still griping about?

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