Despite Media Complaints, Blogs Benefit the Public

Orange County Register columnist Steven Greenhut writes about blogs and the journalists who don't appreciate the new ways information is disseminated without their control.

You have an opinion these days? No need to depend solely on the gatekeeper on the op-ed page to give you access. You have a breaking news story to report? No need to cajole a reporter or news director to go after it. You can opine yourself. You can cover the story yourself and post it immediately....

Unfortunately, many members of the mainstream media (MSM, in blogger-ese) feel threatened by the competition. Instead of taking lessons from the competition (i.e., be lively and opinionated, eschew political correctness, feature tough investigative journalism, focus on diversity of thought rather than diversity of ethnicity), they are spending their time carping at the new media or making fun of their customers ("people don't read anymore").

These days, regardless of your views or fixations, you have choices. You want conservative news, liberal news, libertarian news, paleo-conservative news, etc.? It's all there. You want a Web site devoted to Madagascar hissing roaches? I found 711 hits on my Internet search.

At first, the MSM arrogantly dismissed the newcomers, arguing that the result of this wild media world will be a miasma of untrustworthy news sources. Again, I quote myself on the blog: "It's as easy to tell the difference between a trustworthy and untrustworthy blog or Internet news site as it is to tell the difference between the New York Times and the Weekly World News. Good sites earn respect. Bad ones go by the wayside....

Even locally, the news is reported instantly. Last week, I blogged an item about a local Republican politician on the confirmed list to attend a Planned Parenthood function. It was repeated on a local blog and a firestorm ensued. The story played out-- the report, the firestorm, the politician becoming a no-show at the event-- before the day's newspaper was put to bed.