Blogging v. MSM

Blogging v. MSM

Peggy Noonan has some thoughts on blogging vis a vis the Mainstream Media, especially in how the MSM reviles bloggers (and in many cases the feeling is returned). She lists the strength and weaknesses of blogging, and how they can be complementary to the MSM; it doesn’t have to be confrontational. She also makes a few interesting predictions, among them:

Most of the blogstorms of the past few years have resulted in outcomes that left and right admit or bray were legitimate. Dan Rather fell because his big story was based on a fabrication, Trent Lott said things that it could be proved he said. But coming down the pike is a blogstorm in which the bloggers turn out to be wrong. Good news: They’ll probably be caught and exposed by bloggers. Bad news: It will show that blogging isn’t nirvana, and its stars aren’t foolproof. But then we already know that, don’t we?

I think we’ve already seen a few cases where a blogstorm ignites over something, and it is quickly doused because the source was wrong. One of the great things about the blogosphere is that it’s self-correcting. You have millions of blogs, and perhaps several thousand are involved in some form of punditry (the type of blogging we’re talking about here). In a system with that many independent variables, the push-back against false information is hefty as is the capacity to detect it. I’m not worried that this is going to happen on a large scale. Heck, it even happens here in St. Blog’s, a much smaller system.

  • It strikes me that blogging is to the MSM what open source software is to the big software companies(e.g. Microsoft). The claim in the open source community is that with so many people contributing to and using the software that flaws will be found and fixed and better code will result.

  • The comment that “its stars aren’t foolproof” seems a bit smug coming from a non-blogger MSM’er like Peggy.  Foolproof—compared to what?

    “Foolproof” like the word of a Opinion Joural Online columnist or foolproof like the word of the spokesman for the Vatican (re whether or not the Pope offerred an opinion on The Passion of the Christ upon viewing it)

    Bloggers don’t rest on any institutional credibility, whatever credibility they obtain they do so on their own ability.

  • Bloggers don’t have institutional credibility to protect—that’s what some of the news media craziness is.  They have an *official* point of view and they’re sti-sti-sticking to it.

  • Dom:

    Parralel to the rise of the secular blogoshpere, we should all, collectively, do an anlysis of the Catholic blogosphere. I dont mean merely a laundry list of Catholic sites, nor even the highly commendable rating service provided until recently by PetersNet.

    The secular blogs put the Swifties on the map and took down Dan Rather.

    Notwithstanding Mark Shea’s periodic calls to “unleash the power of the Blog” in defenso fidei, I am not sure if the impact of the Catholic blogosphere on the Church has yet come to match the the impact of its secular counterpart on society at large. (The counterpart in the Church to the MSM is the chancery office and NCCB staff network of liberal aparatchiks, who, collectivel, are the source of all that stuff coming out of left field under the signature of one or more pussy-whipped male feminist bishops.)

    Roman Catholic Faithfull can claim much of the credit for taking down the loathsome Daniel Ryan, but that seems to have been one off.

    The good news is that the Catholic blogoshere (e.g. St. Blog et al) has emerged as a sort of alternate/virtual Catholic University and Library and research resource for Vatican II jailhouse lawyers at parish level. (The Sgt Joe Friday response to the “Spirit of Vatican II: “Just the facts, ma’m.)

    Some ideas for the Catholic Blogosphere AKA the Virtual Church Militant:

    – Instead of the campaign to excominicate John Kerry, why not a soft target like Frances Kielsing. This would be slam dunk.

    – Take Bishop Trautmann (take him please) who threatens to roll back recent gains in the restoration of the liturgy. How about a “Dump Trautman” campaign.  Or circulate a petition providing a mass abjuration of his authority in liturgical matters? We could Dan Rather the guy.

    That’s my fantasy: an orthodox Catholic blogstorm.

    Your thoughts?

  • I wouldn’t sell short the impact of Catholic blogs. We’ve had our successes too. A couple of years ago, I posted on my blog links to various Catholic college web sites that provided links and referrals to abortion clinics and contraceptive providers. Other bloggers picked it up, news providers got it from them (I’ll admit that I also wrote about for Catholic World News and Catholic World Report), and the exposure got most of them to remove the links.

    There have been other cases, too.

    I think Catholic blogs have an another, more subtle effect. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been contacted by members of the mainstream media doing stories on the Church, looking for my response on something or other. They found me through the blog. How many don’t bother contacting me, but just read the blog? Multiply that by other blogs and you have something there.

    There have been orthodox Catholic blogstorms before and I&88217;m sure there will be more. I’m ust not sure they can be organized. I think the nature of the blogosphere encourages spontaneity.

  • I think Catholic blogs form a little part of a Catholic news food chain that impacts the bigger world of news and opinion.  Little things in my blog have been picked up by biger blogs and some mainstream media as well.  My mission statement isn’t to change the world but to share with others my point of view on the day’s news.

    The easiest thing for the Catholic hierarchy to ignore would be a petition to remove Bp Trautman or to excommunicate Kissling.  I would say that by her own actions she’s done that.  Be modest.

  • Patrick:

    Point taken about Kessling.

    But the issues is whether words such as “Catholic” mean anything objectively.

    Post Modern ideology says there are no objectvely applicable definitions to any words.

    But the Jews here in Toronto bullied the left/liberal Toronto Star to ban ads in the weekly relgion page fro “messianic Jewish” congregations. The Star basically gave the local Jewish establishment veto power over the definition of the word “Jew.”

    And people wonder why I miss the Church Militant of the 1950’s.