Yawn. Yet another journalist who thinks blogs are overrated and passing fad and parasites on the professional—ahem—journalists, don’t you know.
The blogs are not as significant as their self-endeared curators would like to think. Journalism requires journalists, who are at least fitfully confronting the digital age. The bloggers, for their part, produce minimal reportage. Instead, they ride along with the MSM like remora fish on the bellies of sharks, picking at the scraps.
More success is met in purveying opinion and comment. Some critics reproach the blogs for the coarsening and increasing volatility of political life. Blogs, they say, tend to disinhibit. Maybe so. But politics weren’t much rarefied when Andrew Jackson was president, either. The larger problem with blogs, it seems to me, is quality. Most of them are pretty awful. Many, even some with large followings, are downright appalling.
Every conceivable belief is on the scene, but the collective prose, by and large, is homogeneous: A tone of careless informality prevails; posts oscillate between the uselessly brief and the uselessly logorrheic; complexity and complication are eschewed; the humor is cringe-making, with irony present only in its conspicuous absence; arguments are solipsistic; writers traffic more in pronouncement than persuasion . . .
I’ll only note in passing the irony that this was posted on OpinionJournal.com, the Wall Street Journal’s own home for its blogs and other opinion writing gathered in one place precisely to feed the voracious appetite of blogs.
But Joseph Rago’s failing is in his sweeping generalizations of all blogs, which is comparable to decrying the quality of the print media while lumping in the WSJ with the local high school newspaper. Not all blogs are of equal quality. Neither do they have to be. Some are mere diaries of those who know they are not great writers and do not aspire to be, while others are serious works of much studiousness on weighty matters.
Blogging is not journalism
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