Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Sun-Times Double Team

Both Richard Roeper and Neil Steinberg spend some of their columns today pooh-poohing blogs.

    And of course, blogs. By law, every story about the news business must include mention of the blog as the way of the future.

    The media landscape is changing, and that's a positive thing. We're supposed to be living in a democracy in which all voices have an equal opportunity to be heard. The more platforms in the public square, the better.

    Still, we need to keep a sense of perspective. The new media doesn't yet have a fraction of the clout, power, success and influence still enjoyed by the old media.
    On Feb. 14, 1978, President Jimmy Carter and his guests spent an evening in the White House watching "Citizens Band," a movie about a CB vigilante named Spider who roams the airwaves pouring abuse on those whose conduct falls short of his lofty standards of radio etiquette.

    I thought of the CB craze while watching an excruciating CNN "Inside the Blogs" report on a blogger -- someone who keeps an online diary -- who was accredited and given access to a White House press conference, making him "perhaps the first blogger to cover the daily press briefings."

    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. "It's hard to read," she said as the text flew by.

    Is it ever. 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.
Wow, the blogs as citizen's band radio. I posted a comment of that stripe years ago one some blog, but it's lost to the ether. A little Google searching shows that a high number of other people have had the same insight. On the other hand, not many of us have twice-a-week columns for a major metro tabloid.

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."