BLOGS AND THE MEDIA….Jonah Goldberg makes a point about blogs and the media that I think is exactly correct:
I’ve toiled in the cyber-fields for close to a decade now (I was the founding editor of National Review Online), and what fascinates me is how the Internet is allowing the nation to return to its historical relationship with the media, not how it’s changing everything.
In the 19th century, newspapers played a different role from the one we think they’re “supposed” to play….American newspapers were never as unapologetically and uniformly partisan as European ones were (and still are), but they were still mostly creatures of specific political biases. There were Republican and Democratic newspapers, populist and communist newspapers, union and anti-union newspapers. These publications served as vehicles for partisan education and crusading personalities, in much the same way leading blogs do today.
Take another look at the most flagrantly partisan websites today: the liberal Daily Kos and its conservative doppelganger, Red State. What you see are media outlets trying to serve the same function as newspapers in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Yes, blogs are often shrill, boisterous, and unapologetically partisan. But that’s a good thing. People who prefer reading to listening or watching haven’t really had a rabble-rousing mass medium at their disposal for a long time, and blogs are a chance to recreate a part of Americana that we’ve sorely missed for the past half century. Hooray for us!
(On the other hand, Jonah’s contention that “the ‘problems’ of the human condition are permanent” ? and therefore, presumably, barely worth trying to improve in any deep rooted way ? is quite another thing. It’s why I’m not a conservative, and it’s why, in the end, conservatives rarely have any long term positive impact on politics. After all, if you don’t really believe that the problems of the human condition are addressable in any meaningful way, what’s the point?)