Safire: bloggers will turn from meanstream to mainstream.

New York Times columnist Bill Safire has some soothing words for the mainstream media (MSM), but makes an assumption I can’t support. Bill’s trying to lift the press out of a depression he perceives, one brought on by a host of messages.

Hear the wailing: The bloggers are coming! The Bible-thumpers are cursing our secular inhumanism! The plumber judges are plugging our leaks! The Yahoo president ducks our questions and giggles at our gaffes! News is slyly slanted as bias rears its head!
The piece goes on to explain why MSMers shouldn’t fear any of these threats, and he encourages journalists to “be of good cheer.” This is an interesting piece, and I agree with much of what’s said. However, he makes the following statement about the blogosphere:
Blogs will compete with op-ed columns for “views you can use,” and the best will morph out of the pajama game to deliver serious analysis and fresh information, someday prospering with ads and subscriptions. The prospect of profit will bring bloggers in from the meanstream to the mainstream center of comment and local news coverage.

On national or global events, however, the news consumer needs trained reporters on the scene to transmit facts and trustworthy editors to judge significance. In crises, large media gathering-places are needed to respond to a need for national community.

Wait a minute, Bill. I think you’re missing something here. The prospect of profit will bring bloggers in from the meanstream to the mainstream center of comment and local news coverage? God forbid! May it never be! Only one who completely misses the reality of citizens media would make such a statement, because this statement assumes the blogosphere will come around to the status quo. That’s not likely, because it functions with different motives. That doesn’t mean some won’t buy into this, but that will not cool the heat the bloggers are putting on the press.

We need an aggressive and viable press in the country, and I’ve stated many times that there’s no way the blogs could ever replace it. God forbid! May it never be! But citizens media is here to stay, and the sooner the pedestal dwellers realize it, the more we’ll all be able to work together downstream.

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