In 1999, there were a million blogs. In 2007? Roughly 63 million.
Blogs are here to stay, and have been making some waves into the tightly controlled "media" market for some time now. That seems to bother many in the Fifth estate, turned it into an ongoing turf war of sorts.
Just a few years ago, it was near impossible to say anything that the corporate media owners didn't want said. Letter to the editor? Only if they wanted to print it.
In the wild and woolly world of the INTERNETS, pretty much anyone can start a blog, and many do.
It is content that brings people back again. If you let a blog go stale, it will die. If you do not post interesting topics? It will die. If you act like a dick, it will die.
There are blogs about politics, knitting, pets, cooking, beer......kids.
Some blogs are well written and very concise. Some are just notes with a link.
Some like ACR, are more of the Gonzo variety.
Gonzo journalism tends to favor style over accuracy and often uses personal experiences and emotions to provide context for the topic or event being covered. It disregards the 'polished' edited product favored by newspaper media and strives for the gritty factor. Use of quotations, sarcasm, humor, exaggeration, and even profanity is common. The use of Gonzo journalism suggests that journalism can be truthful without striving for objectivity and is loosely equivalent to an editorial.
Except for accuracy....If there is a problem with "accuracy", the source is generally the trad media.
Bloggers may not all have a college edjumacation, and probably never attended journalism school. Does that make our "opinions" of lesser importance?
Sometimes it begins to sound like a class war.
But just to set the record straight here:
There are blogs written by religious theologians, political scientists etc...
Another well worn complaint is the anonymity factor. Seen in the comments of the latest Kathy English debacle.
A lot of political bloggers do not use their real names for whatever reason they may have. Reprisals at work from a boss who doesn't agree, finding a job, crazy ass ex partners running around...Usually the reason is a good one and those with any sense of honour, abide by the wishes of the blogger.
But confusing anonymity and pseudonymity, is just a red herring.
True, there are some commenters who post under the actual name Anonymous. But for the majority of bloggers, their nickname, or handle is an identifiable personality. Emptywheel, puts it best:
Before I deal with these issues, though, I'd like to turn to this concept she introduces, "Double-Sided Anonymity." What a remarkable phrase!! Because, first of all, we're not talking about anonymity at all. We're talking about pseudonymity, blogging under a consistent identity, albeit one identified by a different name than the ones your parents gave you. I guess Garance uses the term to refer to the double blindness that results when a newspaper cites from a blogger without first ascertaining her identity. But it's misleading. Presumably, a newspaper isn't going to cite from a blogger--except to give a story blog color--unless that blogger has an established and consistent identity. If someone were to quote me, they be quoting emptywheel, a voice that has been around for at least three years, one with a track record in certain areas. Want to quote a blogger who spends an inordinate amount of time reading filings from the Plame case? You can be sure you've got a credible source by quoting me, even if you don't know me as Marcy Wheeler. Garance makes this threat into a much more dangerous one than it is by conflating (and not for the first time) pseudonymity and anonymity.
Emptywheel was one of the MOST respected reporters on the Plame/Scooter Libby stuff. Reporters were coming to her for information, facts, and the progress of the trail of Scooter Libby. She now uses the name Marcy Wheeler, because she is writing books. It's safe to use her own name, and thumb her nose at the system. YA!
Outing bloggers is an act of disgrace, btw. It is done by those who will find their name to be mud in the general blogosphere.
There have been famous outings, as well as bloggers who are in reality posting under a pseudonym and declaring that those who do so are chickensh*ts. That same well known hypocrite shows up in the National Post on occasion. It is a source of amusement for many of us.
Mirror mirror, on the wall.
What is the thing that brings most blogs to life? Personality. A shared existence. A common goal. Choose one, or all of the above.
The grammar may not be perfect. The spelling and sentence structure may not be precise. Don't look at me, I am admittedly one of the worst offenders! LOL
We all have a voice. We all have something to say. Why are our voices considered to be so much less, so inferior to the paid corporate media?
The title of this post? YOU got chocolate in my peanut butter! This refers to the old commercials where someone eating peanut butter out of a jar, (how often does that happen?) bumps into someone eating chocolate and the two combine.
Love the blogs or hate them, they look like they are here to stay.
And the chocolate is now keeping an eye on the peanut butter.
The blogs need the corporate media for fodder, and the corporate media needs someone to try keep it real and honest, they just don't happen to like it.
Cry me a fucking river.
( I decided to do this as part III, Ill get to the stories covered by bloggers on a later post)