Complaining about blogs again

Complaining about blogs again

Yawn. Yet another journalist who thinks blogs are overrated and passing fad and parasites on the professional—ahem—journalists, don’t you know.

“The Blog Mob”

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, 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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  • You’re right, Dom: Not all blogs of are of equal quality.  But, as you point out, one shouldn’t engage in sweeping generalizations.

    Rago may have some valid points, yet I detect a tinge of elitism and/or “sour grapes” on his part.

  • [quoteWhat’s to complain about that?]

    well Dom, you would take away his straw man.  Where else can he point to the lowly masses and use big expensive-daddy-paid-for college words.

    It is much more fun to look down and scoff than to actually think.  Or to write about something meaininful.  “oh look at those mormons [ed. note (morons?)] with computers, thay [ed. they] can’t even spell.”

  • Excellent post, Dom.  You said exactly what I wanted to say, perhaps more insightly.

    The MAIN thing people need to understand about the “MSM”—which includes your local weekly newspaper, which nowadays is probably owned by a huge chain based hundreds if not thousands of miles away—is that they tend to practice a kind of “mob think.”

    “Real” Catholics understand completely: Years ago I was the top editor of one of several weeklies in a chain of about 30 papers. Even with that “clout” it was impossible for me to get a calendar item in another newspaper in our chain about classes for Natural Family Planning. There was a systematic cleansing of the paper of overly “religious” points of view, even in the free calendar listings.

    The thing that really is most amazing is the just about all the top leaders in the MSM acknowledge that Matt Drudge is “driving” (that is the term th e WSJ used several years ago) editorial coverage in the United States.