March 15, 2005

Vice Versa

There's been a great deal of commentary lately on whether bloggers deserve the same rights as journalists. But what if we turn it around by suggesting that the core problem is that journalists lack the privileges of bloggers? What privileges, you ask?

1. The right to wear the opinions on their sleeves, or skins if you prefer. Nothing gets Big Media taken less seriously than their pretense of objectivity.

2. The right to correct errors without passsion or prejudice. The two biggest Big Media scandals (Rathergate and Easongate) became scandals precisely because of a circling the wagon mentality and a refusal to admit error immediately and forthrightly. The Better Blogging Bureau, i.e., the readers, will not tolerate such shoddy behavior for long.

3. A true celebration of diversity. True diversity of thought is readily available in the blogosphere to a depth and breadth unknown in Big Media. Frankly, Stephen Levy's idea of diversity in the blogosphere is sexist and racist, since he apparently believes that there are unique truths discernable only to sexually and racially balkanized groups. The blogosphere is a true marketplace of ideas, where melting pots and stews gather to produce a delightful melange of intellectual sustenance.

4. Freedom of the presses, not just freedom of the press. As H. L. Mencken once observed, "Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one." The evolution of the Internet, graphic browsers, and blogging software has transformed Speaker's Corner from a soapbox in Hyde Park to a worldwide platform where good ideas are repeated and promulgated and bad ideas are ridiculed and lost to posterity. It is ironic that so many concerned about the effects of corproate media consolidation are so opposed to the most effective counter to a limited media marketplace. Just as universal suffrage evolved from a severely limited franchise of landed gentry, the establishment of the blogosphere has empowered everyone with the ability to make one's thoughts and opinions freely available without having to bow or scrape to someone who owns a press. When it comes to publishing, "by your leave" has left the building. This is a good thing.

Posted by Charles Austin at March 15, 2005 04:01 PM