I don’t post much on contemporary politics, mostly because I don’t have much value-add, but also because so much of it from the blogosphere is simply a critique of the mainstream press. In fact I think the mainstream press is essential and invaluable in many domains. The current crisis in print journalism is going to cause problems because these organizations serve as primary sources for many webloggers on abstruse or specialized topics. Who do you think puts bread on Carl Zimmer’s table?
But, I do believe that almost all “political analysis” and “commentary” in the mainstream media can be, and is being, easily substituted by weblogs (compare & contrast The New York Times analysis of the Democratic primaries vs. Nate Silver’s). I don’t see any comparative advantage here for the establishment. The existence of these sectors of the media seems a relic of the pre-internet era. Both the Right and Left are correct in their criticisms of the trivialities which the media often engage in to maintain the perception of objectivity. Below is an awesome face to face “exchange” between Nico Pitney and Dana Milbank.
Embedded video from CNN Video
I think both Milbank and Pitney are behaving a bit childishly above. But Milbank’s obsession with the details of process & perception of objectivity reminds me somewhat of Chinese eunuchs playing back-stabbing political games and telling the Emperor that all is well, while the barbarians surround the palace and loot the city. The finer ethical points of posing questions in the White House press corps while an earthquake is tearing apart modern journalism bring to mind pampered sycophants continuing to dispute the proper precedent during court ritual while barbarians kill their way to the imperial dais.