USA TODAY: Bloggers rewriting the rules

USA TODAY: Bloggers rewriting the rules
Blogging is one of the top political stories of 2003, and this piece in USA TODAY does a thoughtful job of documenting blogging as a major new force in politics.

Their mission: to remake political journalism and, quite possibly, democracy itself. The plan: to make an end run around big media by becoming publishers on the Internet.

The freewheeling, gossipy Internet sites they operate can be controversial: Matt Drudge, the wired news and gossip hound who broke the story about Monica Lewinsky’s affair with Bill Clinton, is a blogger. Many bloggers are not professional journalists. Few have editors. Most make no pretense of objectivity.

Yet they’re forcing the mainstream news media to follow the stories they’re pushing, such as the scandal that took down Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. And they’ve created a trend that almost every major presidential candidate is following. Even President Bush’s campaign Web site hosts a blog.

The institutional press often assigns clout to bloggers through the influence we have on each other and other (political) leaders. I don’t argue with this, but it’s a logical, Modernist argument. As such, it’s only partially true. We live in Postmodern America, and the point is that blogging is all about citizen journalism. THAT is the big threat to the status quo, the idea that people actually might be able to govern themselves without an élite class “managing” everything for them. Who knew?

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