Kathleen Parker hates blogs. So, it seems, does Michael Lenehan (PDF), but his article is at least thought-provoking.
In addition to calling them ‘our’ new enemy, Parker compares blogs to al-Qaida, writing:
It is this latter — our new enemies — that interests me most. I don’t mean al-Qaida or Osama bin Laden, but the less visible, insidious enemies of decency, humanity and civility — the angry offspring of narcissism’s quickie marriage to instant gratification.
In contrast, newspapers are almost saintly:
Say what you will about the so-called mainstream media, but no industry agonizes more about how to improve its product, police its own members, and better serve its communities. Newspapers are filled with carpal-tunneled wretches, overworked and underpaid, who suffer near-pathological allegiance to getting it right.
Dismissing Jack Kelley and Jayson Blair (as well as ignoring the NYT’s shameful lies about the Iraq War, Judith Miller’s complicity in Plamegate, and burying the NSA story for one year) as little mistakes, Parker continues, comparing bloggers to savages in Lord of the Flies, children with toys, and an “ego-gratifying rabble.”
Precious little substance in this piece for such an adult, responsible journalist. One would think that her elevated, deserved position as a member of the media would lead to a piece that substantively addressed blogs.
In my most deluded moments, I don’t pretend that my contributions to the world via this little blog make much of a difference, but the irrational howling of those in the mainstream media–including right wing columnists–makes me wonder if we aren’t really on the verge of something important. The democratization of communication has always been met with outraged protest from those in power, as well as complaints about quality and civility. In the end, more democratic distrbution of information always wins. A form of press that is easy to distribute, not controlled by major corporations, and has shown a willingness to take a critical position that the mainstream media has been unwilling to, can’t be a bad thing.
It’s no coincidence that someone in the mainstream press would be increasingly shrill about a vibrant form of discourse. The number of people reading (and more importantly, contributing to) blogs is growing every day. The same certainly can’t be said for newspapers.