WE ARE ALL INSIDERS NOW….Lee Gomes writes in the Wall Street Journal that the wide availability of insider political sites (The Note, The Page, First Read, etc.) has made us all into slaves of Beltway horserace analysis and MSM conventional wisdom. Plus this:
Finally, the sites make it easy to lose perspective. Seeing a story sweep through a site like memeorandum.com, it might be difficult to resist joining the herd and its conventional wisdom. Indeed, some Web authors say they shut down their computers to give themselves a chance to think. “There is a value in crafting your post without having read what the cognoscenti have already written about it,” said Marc Ambinder, who is blogging the election for the Atlantic.
Amen. I think more reporters ought to screw up their courage and do that more often. In fact, I’d say that some of the worst posts I’ve written (this one, for example) have come when I noticed that a lot of other people were writing about something and I felt like that meant I had to weigh in too. But, really, it’s just the opposite: if everybody else is already writing about something, what’s the marginal value of one more opinion? Unless I have something genuinely new to say, pretty small.
Conversely, what’s the value of a personal take on events that’s not heavily colored by what everybody else has said? Potentially, at least, much larger. So if that’s my comparative advantage, it’s probably best to stick with it as much as possible.