If there’s one thing Old Media curmudgeons want to make clear, it’s that there’s a distinct line between bloggers and journalists. “Blogger” is to them what “liberal” is to a conservative: a joke, a put-down—something to suggest that the person being labeled deserves a spot a the little kids table while the grown-ups get some real work done.
If you lay claim to either of those viewpoints, you’re a jackass. So’s Old Media-sympathizer Steve Jobs:
“I don’t want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers myself. I think we need editorial more than ever.” […] “what we have to do is figure out a way to get people to start paying for this hard-earned content.”
(Wait, Steve Jobs—the guy who gave us the iPhone and the iPad—is an Old Media sympathizer? Yeah: Jobs has a vested interest in helping Old Media outlets—they supply the content, he supplies the platform. Besides that, bloggers are arguably way more critical of Apple and Jobs than the mainstream press.)
Of course, this is about the stupidest thing ever because saying “I don’t want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers” is exactly like saying “I don’t want to see us descend into a nation of people who use pens.” A blog is a tool and it’s as informative or vapid as the person using it. If Steve Jobs and the curmudgeons of the world have a problem with blogs, maybe the problem is that they don’t know how to find good ones.
The attitude that newspapers=good, blogs=bad is also lazy. Sure, it’s easy and maybe even tempting to say because we’d all rather “know” that what we’re reading is true than have to research the research and decide for ourselves. But there’s no such comfort. What you read in The New York Times is just as likely to be complete crap as what you read on a blog. (Incidentally, it was bloggers who came up with the idea of linking to their research so people could decide if they were being fair.)
So the next time you hear some smug journalist bash blogging, ask him—since he’s a journalist, who believes in being objective and getting the facts straight—what evidence he has to support his air of superiority.