Utopias, Dustbins of History and The Blogosphere

In The New Republic, Christine Rosen on Glenn Reynolds and the blogosphere.

There’s one place, at least, where this unstoppable phenomenon may indeed quickly triumph. It’s precisely the area where Reynolds now toils: media. Reynolds would argue that he is a proponent of what his fellow blogger Jim Treacher calls “we-dia,” journalism practiced by the technologically empowered, amateur masses. Reynolds writes, “Millions of Americans who were once in awe of the punditocracy now realize that anyone can do this stuff–and that many unknowns can do it better than the lords of the profession.” As Reynolds argues with unrestrained glee, Big Media is in retreat. And, if circulation numbers and share prices are reliable indicators, he’s clearly right. To survive, he writes, the news media must embrace the citizen-journalist ethos of the blogosphere. Blogger dispatches and digital photos from readers, he claims, will provide coverage as rich and more thorough than that of Elisabeth Bumiller and John F. Burns, for example. Those who don’t adapt, Reynolds warns, may “wind up being replaced by those who do.”

But what would we-dia actually look like? This is a question that can be easily answered by InstaPundit. Reynolds’s blog consists largely of links to news or opinion articles and other blogs followed by comments consisting of such profound observations as “Heh,” or “Read the whole thing,” or “Indeed.” (These are recurring tropes whose centrality can’t be exaggerated.) What Reynolds lacks in analysis, he makes up for in abundance of content. On any given day, he’ll provide his readers nearly 20 entries–or, if you can stomach it, more.

The blogosphere doesn’t universally suffer from this extreme case of logorrhea or vacuity. (Nor are newspaper columnists immune from the latter syndrome.) It contains plenty of experts and thoughtful analysts who excel at precisely the analysis that is hardly the forte of newspaper reporters and eludes old-fashioned pundits. But Reynolds exposes how the blogosphere, at its worst, values timeliness over thought.