Emperor Broder Sneers At The Internet “Journalists”

Poor David Broder is looking out over the scorched earth left behind by the memogate scandal and he’s not particularly excited by the new world that the mainstream media now inhabits…

“As the path from the White House and political campaigns to the slots as TV anchor or interviewer or op-ed columnist or editor was trod by more and more people, the message to aspiring young journalists was clear.

The way to the top of journalism was no longer to test yourself on police beats and city hall assignments, under the skeptical gaze of editors who demanded precision in writing and careful weighing of evidence. It was to make a reputation as a clever wordsmith, a feisty advocate, a belligerent or beguiling political personality, and then market yourself to the media.

These hires were made by executives who themselves had little commitment to the solid and steady journalistic values that come from working a beat for a sustained period of time. They were looking for quick fixes for their circulation or ratings — and they thought the star system or the “big story” would save them.

But to their dismay, TV news show ratings continued to decline, newspaper circulations slumped and the fickle public — whose wishes editors now took as their command — switched to even more sensational outlets: the cable talk shows and infotainment formats that put argument, gossip and amusement at the top.

When the Internet opened the door to scores of “journalists” who had no allegiance at all to the skeptical and self-disciplined ethic of professional news gathering, the bars were already down in many old-line media organizations. That is how it happened that old pros such as Dan Rather and former New York Times editor Howell Raines got caught up in this fevered atmosphere and let their standards slip.

Time was when any outfit such as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that came around peddling an ad with implausible charges would have run into a hard-nosed reporter whose first questions — before he or she ran with the story — would have been, “Who the hell are you guys? What’s your angle? What’s your proof?”

What a condescending snob Broder must be to write a column like that. He reminds me of one of those old Roman Emperors from the movies, being fed grapes from a slave and sneering at his generals who suggest that Rome itself might be endangered by the Barbarian hordes that have been raiding across the border…

Emperor David Broder: “Bloggers doing real journalism? Ha! Remember when it was just ABC, NBC, CBS and the papers running the show, before talk radio, and these internet peons came on the scene? Now those were the days!

Back then, we picked the important stories, we set the agenda, and we called the shots. Now we have these impudent bloggers daring to question us? What arrogance, what…slave….did I say to stop feeding me grapes? Continue or I’ll have you flogged!

Don’t these bloggers know who we are? Who do blogs like Little Blue Baseballs think they are anyway? What kind of name is that for a news organization? And what is this Right-Thinking From The Left Coast? They even have Right Thinking in their name! They’re obviously not balanced and unbiased like the New York Times or CBS? Oh and don’t even get me started on Allah Is In The House. If I had someone at the Washington Post suggest that as a name for a column, I’d have them flogged!

These barbarians even harassed poor Dan Rather so much that he took obviously fake documents from a madman! He….slave! Why am I not being fanned and where are my dancing girls! Your emperor is becoming angry!”

Guys like Broder don’t get it, they never have and they never will. The reason the blogger barbarians are at the gate is because the “stars” of the old media, people like Broder, Rather, Jennings, Brokaw, Hersh, Helen Thomas, Dana Milbank, etc, etc, aren’t all that impressive if you get right down to it. As a matter of fact, I don’t think there’s anything that sets any of those people apart from conservative bloggers other than the fact that they have bigger microphones, more resources, and they’re biased in a different direction.

That’s not to say that we bloggers will be able to replace the old media though. We may be able to take bites out of the MSM’s readership and continue to undermine their credibility when they don’t do their homework, but it’s likely we’ll never have the resources of an ABC, NYT, or Chicago Tribune.

Still….there are plenty of readers and loot left in the old media empire and they’re ripe to be plundered by us new media barbarians. Maybe we’ll never eat off golden plates in the palaces of Rome, but that’s not to say we can’t build small media kingdoms of our own while the old media continues to decline. And who knows? Maybe someday, somehow, one day long in the future, we bloggers will trample the old media empire under foot and create a better media of our own. Stranger things have happened as I’m sure the Romans from days of yore would tell us if they still lived…

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