The (Self-)Importance of Being a Blogger

Broadcast journalism is the bee in several bloggers’ bonnets of late.

Pandagon’s Jesse Taylor, provoked by a viewing of yesterday’s “Chris Matthews Show,” buzzes about the lack of “aggressive liberal talking heads” on shows like Matthews’, and offers this holiday-inspired dismissal of talking head TV: “In today’s media, if there was a debate over whether or not we should eat so much turkey at Thanksgiving, the guests would be the chairman of Butterball, a guy who likes turkey, and for balance, ‘Monday Night Football’ announcer John Madden with his signature turkducken combo-bird for a ‘different take on the turkey issue.’”

The impending departure of two bigwig network news anchors brings out the animal in at least two bloggers. Suburban Guerrilla is disgusted by Newsweek’s report that Matt Lauer and Tim Russert are “on a wish list of outsiders that CBS has considered as successors to Dan Rather.” Lauer and Russert have, the Guerrilla asserts, “already proven adept at appearing to be journalists without actually committing any acts that might be remotely identified as such.” N.Z. Bear takes issue with departing NBC anchor Tom Brokaw’s “terrible advice” for his successor, Brian Williams — namely, to not read “the many media critics who will be out there with commentary and criticism … [because] your compact is not with them but with the audience.” Bear objects to what he sees as Brokaw’s “artificial distinction between ‘media critics’ and ‘the audience’” which he’ll have everyone know “are now one and the same (see also: blogosphere).”

Which provides a perfect segue into a recent Josh Marshall post about his own lack of patience for “blog triumphalism,” which he defines as “an unrestrained belief that blogs or similarly-situated sites can and should revolutionize all politics and media.” While Marshall appreciates, he writes, the “hundreds or often thousands of emails” that he receives every week, he notes that “there are many suggestions which can’t but seem naive or unrealistic to a jaded Washington eye” and which are sometimes “infected” with the above-described triumphalist attitude.

Over at, La Shawn waxes triumphant in a post commenting on George Will’s Sunday Washington Post piece titled “Academia, Stuck to the Left.” La Shawn opines: “Now that bloggers are reporting news and fact-checking the biased media, liberals in newsrooms no longer control the flow of information or how it’s reported. I predict a similar change will occur in leftist academia.”

In other words, having effectively put the “biased media” on notice, bloggers like La Shawn will now turn their enormous guns on another liberal bastion, academia. Paul Krugman must be shivering in his boots.

Liz Cox Barrett

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.