Are Bloggers Parasites? Yep, And Us Is Too

Glenn Greenwald talks about what he calls “the myth of the parasitical bloggers” here. The spark for the post is Maureen Dowd’s mis-attribution malfunction, which David Knowles discusses there.

My thoughts: Bloggers are parasites. But so is everyone else in the media. From traditional print journalists to talking heads. It’s a parasitic profession. We write about what others have done, said, accomplished or failed to do. We feed off the lives of others; it’s how we survive; it’s our primary form of sustenance.

The blog is a kind of parasitic genus of the larger parasitic organism that is professional journalism. It’s why Russell Crowe hates us.

That being said: I think Greenwald is taking the argument too far. There is a symbiotic relationship between bloggers and journalists, as he points out, but it’s no where near an equal two way street. It’s not a myth. The majority of blog content relies on work that others have produced. The standard format is a link, comment, publish. Journalists certainly get story ideas from blogs–we’re parasites remember, we’ll suck up information anywhere we can get it–but blogs are usually not the sole source for the content journalists publish. Usually.

In the case of Maureen Dowd versus TPM, there’s not even a clear blogger/journalist distinction. TPM is run by a professional journalist and staffed by professional journalists. It’s not the kind of site that stodgy blog hating journalists are talking about when they hate on the damned blogazzpheres.

I understand Greenwald’s reasoning for pushing back hard against the anti-blog bias, though. One of my favorite past times is reading his regular dismantling of whoever is in his cross hairs. He’s also become a very influential voice with the juice to drive the national political debate on certain subjects. So he has enemies, and it’s a convenient way for his enemies to dismiss him by saying “it’s just a blog,” it’s just the blogosphere.” But that sort of dismissiveness won’t be too effective for that much longer. Greenwald was just awarded the I.F. Stone Award for journalism; he’s basically an uberjournalist/columnist/blogger/lawyer hybrid.

All and all, this argument really is a symptom of the growing pains in the media, as the industry tries to adapt to the new way of being. A large number of bloggers are doing reporting. And professional journalists are becoming, in part, professional bloggers.  Resistance, as True/Slant happily proves, is futile.


About michaelhastings

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