Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Darn Frenzied Piranha!

Today Neil Steinberg, columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times offered his opinion on a CNN report on blogs, and on blog(er)s in general. Evidently the CNN report featured a blogger who was "accredited and given access to a White House press conference". Mr. Steinberg writes:

Yowza. Though they also let in a turkey at Thanksgiving, CNN found this particular entrance highly significant, perhaps some kind of turning point, and as the protracted, painful segment unfolded, the reporter tried to present the usual piranha frenzy in the so-called "blogosphere" by actually scrolling down, on air, blocks of verbiage on her computer screen.

(Piranha frenzy. Wow. I dream of being a piranha one day, But I'm still trying to fit into my "so-called blogosphere" pajamas.)
So why was CNN fooled? I know producers have time to fill, but they stumbled onto a common misperception that deserves note. Stuck as always in the jail of the present moment, we mistake White House or presidential involvement for a sign of importance or respectability.
Okay, Mr. Steinberg, we're noting. Here's the logic. Premise: A blogger is by his nature an unknown, unimportant individual (just look at me) and he cannot be respectable. Therefore, since this blogger got Whitehouse news conference access, any slob can have "White House or presidential involvement". All of us - unimportant un-respectable hoi polloi that we are - should take Neil's word for it, pop in at the Whitehouse, and have a little chat with the President. Why nobody has done this since the Lincoln administration is just beyond me. Who knew?
And blogs will, unless I am very much mistaken, be this decade's CB radio since, like CB radio, they are a cacophonous expression of the unvarnished and unedited psyche of the American people, God bless them, once again mistaking a new technology for the New Jerusalem.
There we go again. Poor "unvarnished and unedited" savages, mistaking advancement for magic, falling down to worship when the missionary strikes a match. (For a minute there, I thought this was the haughty and insulting condescension of an elitist. But having reflected on his insight for a moment, I believe I really do need to have my psyche edited. Can anyone recommend ... Oh, nevermind.)

Are Little Green Footballs and Powerline and Instapundit a CB-style fad? Time will tell. But time has told us a few things already. Dan Rather's little swim with the piranha ended well, I think, or rather (no pun, I swear) will end tonight. So did Daschle's. Will the unwashed masses, God bless us, prefer to sift our information from an unvarnished and unedited cacophony, or a pablum of whitewash and spin? If it's true that news today is entertainment, which do you think it will be? Feeding piranha or puffed-up pontificating elitist? Well, I can't tell the future any better than you - but I'm guessin'.

[Thanks to youch for the heads-up via email. Cross-posted on the Jesusland Expatriate]

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