Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Blogosphere -vs- The Newspapers

(First published in November of 2007)

Why the Blogosphere Has Dealt a Near Death Blow to the Newspaper Industry.
By: J. D. Longstreet

I came across a letter to the editor in my regional newspaper the other day complaining about bloggers. It seems the writer was concerned that bloggers were allowed to write about anything they wanted, say just about anything they wanted, and there was no one to screen, or “edit” what they write.

At first, I thought this was a joke. Then, as I took another sip of my fresh, black, coffee, it began to dawn on my just awakening mind, the horrible truth… this person was SERIOUS!

Either the writer is not aware of a little inconvenience called the US Constitution and the First Amendment, or he has no idea why the Blogosphere exploded, overnight, into a totally unexpected phenomenon of free speech… or both. I suspect the latter.

Some of the finest pieces of journalism, I have ever read, have been on the blogosphere. Writers are free to express themselves and their ideas, in all their blazing glory, through their blogs and reach millions of readers around the globe. By the same token, bloggers are equally able to make complete fools of themselves and have their ignorance exposed to the same millions around the globe.

The Blogosphere has been described as “The Wild West” of Cyberspace. While I don’t agree with that description, totally, it certainly is wide open for creativity.

Oh, and that complaint about the lack of an editor for bloggers… that is the driving force behind the blogosphere, at least from my perspective.

The mainstream media has controlled the flow of information for more than a couple of centuries in this country alone. The end result read, heard, and seen by the consumer of news and information has been filtered, screened through the filters of the MSM which has grown more and more attached to the left wing political philosophy of the world. As a result, our daily diet of news and info had, until the blogosphere opened up, become more and more one sided with the bias in favor of the political left. Yet the purveyors of that bias staunchly denied and continue to deny, to this day, the obvious bias in their publications!

The blogosphere is a revolution in the way news, information, ideas, and opinion are disseminated. No filters, no screeners, no editors. And, most importantly, the Blogger’s bias is right up front! You know, when reading a blog, where the Blogger’s political sympathies lie. He makes no secret of them and he, or she, does not deny them. The writer writes and the readers read! Even if the reader does not agree with the writer, the reader feels comfortable and far less defensive and suspicious as he consumes the writer’s offerings. There is a world of difference in reading an openly biased blog article than reading an article from a newspaper publication which denies its, oh so obvious, bias!

The blogosphere has been so successful that mainstream newspapers have taken a beating with readership, and subscriptions, and classified ads, and general ad income, etc, falling off precipitously. Some of the oldest and most prestigious newspapers, and news organizations, in America are clinging to viability as businesses today. Why? Because the public no longer wants what they are selling. Not when the unvarnished, unfiltered, unscreened, unedited, and openly biased, information is available at the click of a mouse. Speaking of news… this is NOT GOOD NEWS for the MSM!

And, for the MSM… it is only going to get worse.

When I was a youngster, the sci-fi writers were telling us that one day, our newspapers would be delivered directly to our homes electronically. It sounded like so much blarney then. But, WALLAH! Here it is! It’s called the Internet. Now I don’t have to accept whatever my local or regional newspaper has to sell. No, I can read the newspapers in the UK, in Australia, in Israel, or practically any place on earth. And I do.

Point is… the Internet is doing its job. It is a worldwide communications network and it is run by THE PEOPLE. Bloggers are a natural offshoot of that "people’s network". Bloggers are, indeed, here to stay.

INSIGHT on Freedom is just a tiny, infinitesimal, drop in the conservative side of the blogosphere. Don’t like what I have to say? A few clicks and you are sampling another writer’s fare. Don’t like my right biased uttering? Fair enough. There is every bit as many left leaning blogs here, in the blogosphere, as there are right leaners. Go find one.

The blogosphere is a powerful place. It is a place of introspection and, yes, even sharing. It is a place where ideas collide and movements are born. That, alone, makes it a threat to those who have been the gatekeepers of information for centuries. Long live the Internet!

J. D. Longstreet


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