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Online punditry is giving traditional editorial pages a kick in the ass

By David MacLean in Media
Mon Nov 12, 2001 at 03:36:40 AM EST
Tags: Interviews (all tags)
Interviews

On September 10, 2001 online political pundit Glenn Reynolds was pretty pleased with the 1,600 hits a day he was getting on his quaint editorial site InstaPundit.com. The next day he had 160,000.

I spoke Glenn Reynolds about warblogging, the modern news cycle and the big-picture impact and rising influence of online pundits.


Since the WTC Towers crumpled to street level, and a hijacked plane punched a hole in the Pentagon, web surfers have had an unquenchable thirst for facts and discussion - or anything, for that matter, relating to the attacks. Online pundits and a kaleidoscope of `bloggers' (`net lingo for webloggers - a weblog is a kind of online diary) have swept in to the fill the void.

Some bloggers are regular Joes, with intense net savvy and a thing or two to say. Others are journalists or academics looking for a way to wade into the fray. Their advantage is they are real time, they don't have editorial deadlines or broadcast times to slow them down. They also have the entire web at their disposal, and devoted readership acting as their eyes and ears.

Glenn Reynolds, a Law Professor at the University of Tennessee, is perhaps the most influential blogger around. Visit his site and you'll see that he doesn't seem to sleep. A fresh post on the latest developments in the war against terrorism usually awaits you in the morning, and it's likely there will be a dozen more before you go to bed at night.

Prolific blogging has won him the respect of his peers and members of mainstream media. Glenn has appeared on Larry King Live, PBS' News Hour, Fox's O'Reilly Factor, and he's been published in the LA Times and Chicago Tribune, among others.

The slogan on his website reads "Ahead of the Curve Since 30 Minutes Ago!" - a boast not far from the mark. In fact, by the time most people are reading opinion pieces in the big newspapers the issue was probably already digested by online pundits the day before. Bloggers were among the first to flag the plight of postal workers exposed to anthrax in New Jersey - long before mainstream editorialists set their sights on Nervous Nelly government officials.

The content ranges from the absurd - online jokes about the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden - to the serious, like intense legal discussions on gun control. But perhaps InstaPundit.com's biggest edge is its ability to scoop the major news sites like MSNBC and CNN with nuggets of crucial information. Add to the mix some powerful debate, and you have yourself some good reading.
---

David MacLean: When the Web came to be, pundits hailed it as a savior -- predicting the mass democratizing effect it would have on media. Now we've seen the economics of the web collapse, and online media leaders like Salon are scrambling to find ways to survive. With online pundits flourishing, are we seeing this potential still exists for the web?

Glenn Reynolds: Yes. I think that weblogging is the Web as it should be. It's a sort of Jeffersonian cyber-Yeomanry at work. I think that as "traditional" media like, say, the New York Times become more opinionated, even in their news coverage, and cut budgets for reporting, the distinction collapses. And online pundits often research their points more than reporters do, especially on military issues.

David MacLean: Do political hacks and PR people take online pundits into consideration when developing strategies?

Glenn Reynolds: My counter (software that tracks hits on websites) says I have a lot of readers in the Executive Branch and in military departments, and I sometimes get email from them, but I don't know if they care what I have to say.

David MacLean: A debate is raging online about freedom of speech during the war on terrorism. It appears everyone is shifting to the right and criticism of the American response is muted. What's your take on this?

Glenn Reynolds: I don't think that people are abandoning their commitment to free speech. I think they're mostly exercising their own freedom of speech to criticize statements (like Susan Sontag's) that they think are dumb or disloyal. Some have tried to act as if being publicly criticized is equal to censorship, but that's just silly. And a bit self-aggrandizing.

David MacLean: Why are people flocking to your site, and those of other pundits?

Glenn Reynolds: I don't know. Perhaps it's accountability, as opposed to bureaucracy, which rules traditional media. If I say it, it's my opinion, and it's obviously my opinion. If somebody convinces me I'm wrong -- either on a fact, or on my opinion -- I immediately say so online. Compare that to the sluggishness, mealy-mouthedness, and unresponsiveness of traditional media. The NY Times once called me "Glenn Harlan Roberts" in an article and wouldn't even run a correction.

David MacLean: Is there a lesson here for mainstream 'paper' and broadcast media? What is the long-term trend?

Glenn Reynolds: Mainstream media are too much a part of the establishment, and too bureaucratic. It's not that they don't have opinions, or let them affect their reporting, they just try to maintain plausible deniability. People have caught on to that, and it's affected their credibility.

I think, too, that personalized media are just another part of the general high-tech trend toward customizing things. When economies of scale meant that you could only print a few different newspapers even in a big market, we got least-common-denominator content. Now the economics are different, so the delivery is different.

Online punditry is teaching us, I think, that there are a lot of people just as smart and capable of expressing clear opinions as the famous names you see in your newspapers. I think that's good. It's a return to a less elitist conception of public discourse.

David MacLean: Is the mainstream media missing the boat on these fast moving issues? It seems by the time the old school editorialists have their head around a topic, the issue has already been digested online. The web certainly beat the mainstream press to the story of the infected postal workers, and their legitimate gripe against the government. What is the relationship between online pundits and mainstream media?

Glenn Reynolds: The mainstream media have been slow to catch on. You're right: a lot of what you see on the editorial and op-ed pages seems like old news by the time it appears. I think that the mainstream media haven't paid much overt attention to online pundits yet, though I do notice a lot of things appearing there that seem to be, ahem, rather derivative of online punditry from the day before. It's competition. It's hard to expect them to plug it.

David MacLean: Has your role as a real time pundit and source of information changed since 9/11?

Glenn Reynolds: I got a lot of email from people in the immediate days after 9/11 saying how comforting they found my site. I think that it may have helped people make sense out of something very threatening. Also, the format is good for keeping up with rapidly evolving events, which makes it especially valuable at times like these.

I had intended InstaPundit to be far more archly amusing than outright serious, and to post less often. I'm posting so much I'm getting wrist problems, and I'm fairly serious, though I do run sex tips for the Taliban and such from time to time, and I do still post on things other than the war. But it's what everyone's thinking about the most, including me, so it's natural that it's come to dominate.
---

By David MacLean

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Online punditry is giving traditional editorial pages a kick in the ass | 38 comments (32 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
Is Prof. Reynolds another Chomsky? (3.00 / 1) (#1)
by crank42 on Sun Nov 11, 2001 at 04:57:33 PM EST

Glenn Reynolds: Mainstream media are too much a part of the establishment, and too bureaucratic. It's not that they don't have opinions, or let them affect their reporting, they just try to maintain plausible deniability.

The subject line asks my question. Maybe Chomsky (in his less-conspiracy-theory moments) really is (was?) a prophet of the Net.

No really? (4.33 / 3) (#2)
by rusty on Sun Nov 11, 2001 at 05:11:48 PM EST

I don't think Reynolds is at that kind of level. He seems to be saying a lot of the same things many of us (JD, Doc, me, etc) are saying about independent and collaborative media.

What exactly do you mean about "prophet of the net" w/r/t Chomsky? I didn't know he had a blog. ;-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Well, prophets aren't believers (4.50 / 2) (#3)
by crank42 on Sun Nov 11, 2001 at 05:42:18 PM EST

What exactly do you mean about "prophet of the net" w/r/t Chomsky? I didn't know he had a blog. ;-)

At the risk of making an over-literal remark, I'll just note that the views expressed in Manufacturing Consent &c. precede the mass embracing of the Net.

And no, I didn't overlook the similarity in position he holds with you and others. But no one would imagine the professor to be some kind of left-leaning lunatic (ok, lunatic maybe, but not left-leaning by at least most standards) the way they do Chomsky.

[ Parent ]

Er, I mean "Not Really" (4.50 / 4) (#5)
by rusty on Sun Nov 11, 2001 at 06:45:33 PM EST

That was supposed to be the subject of my above comment.

About Manufacturing Consent, I should really read that. Or should I? Anyone have advice? Is it worth reading?

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Yes read it (4.25 / 4) (#6)
by Kalani on Sun Nov 11, 2001 at 06:52:27 PM EST

... and you can trust my word because you have no idea who I am.

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
Sure, why not? (none / 0) (#12)
by Sunir on Sun Nov 11, 2001 at 09:13:49 PM EST

I have it on my shelf, gathering dust, waiting for me to drive through my pile of infoviz books. After all, it comes up so often, especially amongst university students and online, that it's worth reading only to understand what everyone is drivelling on about. Since I go to Carleton University, a big journalism/communications school, it would give me more ammo other than pointing out that an overarching, evil media conspiracy is the least plausible hypothesis when individual avarice is sufficient. (Although I wonder if Chomsky was really a conspiracy nut.)

If you want, after I'm done reading it sometime, I could mail it to you.

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

chomsky's writings (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by Delirium on Mon Nov 12, 2001 at 05:00:12 AM EST

Only if you like reading a much more eloquent and better-argued (but still wrong) version of Jello Biafra. =P

My unbiased opinion, of course.

[ Parent ]

i take your point (none / 0) (#25)
by jcolter on Mon Nov 12, 2001 at 10:50:52 AM EST

I see what you are saying, but I think the two serve different roles. Biafra while possibly a smart guy is possibly not the most knowledgable person in the realms of media critisism and foreign policy. His role is as a activist and artist (Dead Kennedys). I can understand how his spoken word would not apeal to you. However, Chomsky seems alot more calm and coherent to me. Of course I am evading your point to a certain extent.

[ Parent ]
chomsky (4.00 / 1) (#26)
by Delirium on Mon Nov 12, 2001 at 01:08:28 PM EST

Well, yes, I'll certainly grant that. Chomsky is the knowledgeable PhD researcher who develops the theories that people like Biafra cite and popularizes. As such he's certainly more knowledgeable and thorough in his research. But I still think his conclusions are a bit off.

[ Parent ]
Chomsky in a Nutshell, the experiment (5.00 / 9) (#34)
by On Lawn on Tue Nov 13, 2001 at 04:56:16 PM EST


I suggest everyone read it. It is good to be abreast of quoted social commentary. It is better to form your own opinion of it. I also think you will learn a lot about media tactics, propeganda, etc...

But I have an alterior point. In childhood debates with my sister, I learned that I could learn a lot about her tactics by listening to the tactics she ascribed to others. "Oh they are just, this" and "They are doing this becuase of that" usually precluded insight of what she was doing, thinking and wanting to happen in her own arguements. Remember --learn from your enemy, they are your best instructor of their own tactics.

A popular cold war tactic was to listen to an enemies propeganda. Whatever the enemy was accusing them of doing, look out! Becuase 9 times out of ten they were doing it themselves.

Just to bring this above the level of a sophisticated "rubber and glue" attack let me propose an experiment. This will prove my point better than anything else. Whenever you hear yourself saying "They are just doing..." or "That is becuase they want to..." take a mental note of it. Remember that motive you ascribed to your enemy and the circumstances you saw them in to justify the judgement.

Then use it to understand yourself. Look at your actions and motivations for those actions. Especially when your circumstance matches that of others. I think to an alarming degree that you will find that your arguments and motive-attacks waged on others turn around and fit best on yourself. Even better than what others say about you.

When I realized this, it inspired the slashdot.sig

Anyone telling you that you are being manipulated by X is after Xs job.

Then when I read Chomsky, I felt the same old arguing my sister used. I felt way to jerked around with conjecture and philosophy. I saw neat lining up of evidence only after a conclusion was made to support them. So I took the good parts (the information and facts) and left the rest (the accusations, and conclusions). I do the same thing with Rush.

[ Parent ]
Very good book (none / 0) (#21)
by emmanuel.charpentier on Mon Nov 12, 2001 at 08:13:34 AM EST

but so sad and terrible that I haven't managed to finish it.

It is another viewpoint on history and our present times. Much needed if only for the fresh ideas on medias, bias, objectivity...

[ Parent ]

I highly recommend it (none / 0) (#22)
by jcolter on Mon Nov 12, 2001 at 10:42:47 AM EST

If I had to pick a book of his to recommend that would be it. His other books are also good, but I think the title in question is the most all encompassing. I actually am rather suprised you have never read it. I'm sure alot of us would like to read a journal entry of yours with feedback.

[ Parent ]
ot: ratings comment (1.00 / 1) (#23)
by kubalaa on Mon Nov 12, 2001 at 10:45:21 AM EST

I know he's our Fearless Leader and we all love him, but is it really necessary to give rusty `5's for every dang word that comes out of his mouth? He knows he's great, we know he's great; now can we please rate normally so I won't think I need to go out of my way to hear him ask for opinions on books.

[ Parent ]
Rent the video (none / 0) (#33)
by thePositron on Tue Nov 13, 2001 at 03:35:18 PM EST

Instead of reading the book first rent the Videotape "Manufacturing Consent" then read the book or not read the book.

It will save you time and it provides the gist of Chomsky and Herman's analysis of modern american media.


[ Parent ]
Yeah, just rent the video (none / 0) (#37)
by ansible on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 05:08:07 PM EST

I read the book after seeing the video, and frankly, I didn't get much more out of it. I was kinda expecting it was going to go into more detail on various points the video made, but it didn't.

Yes, I realize the video was made after the book.

[ Parent ]

entry level, overrated (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by kellan on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 10:15:37 PM EST

I don't think Manufacturing Consent is going to blow anybody's mind anymore, maybe in 1988, but not today. (Hell, skip the video, watch "Wag the Dog") I think its going to fall especially flat with anyone involved in democratic community publishing.

Its an entry level text on propaganda & the media economy, the introduction lays out Herman's propaganda model in the simplest terms, and then the rest of the book is dedicated to using Chomsky's gruesome examples to back up the point.

Useful material for debates. Good if you don't know your history, or have a sunshine and rainbows view of the U.S.

Now if you really want to get how propaganda, and manufacturing consent actually happen, their effect on society, and the pysche, then read Herman straight up.

And for fun (kind of like a Stephen King/Clive Barker novel) read Bagdikian's Media Monopoly (who is either the hardest working writer, or has the cushiest deal ever depending on who you ask, as he re-publishes the same book every year)

kellan

[ Parent ]

Chomsky on the Net [on as in commenting on] (4.00 / 1) (#4)
by wji on Sun Nov 11, 2001 at 06:07:50 PM EST

Here's a 1995 interview Chomsky did about the internet. Makes a few good points, but I don't think he anticipated forums like K5 and, uh, the other one.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
Opinion, yes, but what about fact? (4.75 / 4) (#8)
by tudlio on Sun Nov 11, 2001 at 07:24:41 PM EST

Brings to my mind the question I've never found a satisfactory answer to: how do you separate the people with something useful to contribute from those who don't?

You can tell if an expressed opinion is logical, reasonable and fair, but can you tell if it's accurate? I've heard very reasonable, logical and fair opinions in support of the "war" and very reasonable, logical and fair opinions virulently opposed to it on K5. Both depended on fact and analysis that in many cases contradict one another. I'm a reasonably well read person with a solid, liberal educational background, but I can't say I fully understand why (for example) the United States supported the Shah of Iran. Neither do 99 percent of the people who nonetheless aren't afraid to say they do.

There's an interesting book called Tainted Truth whose thesis is that even many scientific studies are inaccurate in as the results are influenced by the study's funders. So if even the scientific method fails when it comes to establishing (for instance) whether oats help prevent heart disease, how can we trust an opinion based on something as debatable as historical fact?

It's not just an academic debate: we all have limited amounts of attention to spend, and it's important for the future of the planet that those of us in a position to influence events spend it on the opinions that are based on accurate data.

I wish I knew how.




insert self-deprecatory humor here
Opinions are worth more than facts (3.25 / 4) (#13)
by David MacLean on Sun Nov 11, 2001 at 09:15:14 PM EST

Punditry is not about facts. It's about opinions. Online punditry is about freedom, spontaneity and reflexivity. It is an inherently democratic forum for the expression of opinion -- dissenting or otherwize. With bloggers there is an opportunity for readers to develop a relationship with the writer. The online pundit can establish a reputation for accuracy and thoughtfulness. Some of them are better than others, but the format has some terrific potential. DM

[ Parent ]
Opinion trumps fact? Au contraire... (4.50 / 2) (#30)
by tudlio on Mon Nov 12, 2001 at 09:11:34 PM EST

You've got something of a mismatch between your title and the content of your comment. I can't dispute that online punditry, defined as the expression of opinion, kicks ass over old world punditry. I wouldn't be spending time on K5 if I disagreed with that statement.

However, I have to take issue with the statement "opinions are worth more than facts." Do you mean that literally, or is it simply a rhetorical flourish?

Because in just about anything that matters, opinion is only as good as the facts it rests on. Your opinion about nuclear power, for example, is worthless unless it's informed by facts. If the extent of you knowledge about nuclear power is that it makes you glow if you get too close to it, well, I'm not going to gain anything by listening to you.

Online punditry is more democratic, meaning that it's more accessible to anyone who wants to practice it. You don't have to have a military rank, or a doctorate, and you don't have to have been a member of the same fraternity as Rupert Murdoch to get your voice heard. And on balance I think that's a good thing.

However, the gating function that old world punditry provided did have a purpose: it at least attempted to keep out the people with worthless opinions. Now, I have to do that gating myself. And that, IMHO, is the drawback to the democratization of opinion.




insert self-deprecatory humor here
[ Parent ]
Fact as a result of multiple samples (4.50 / 2) (#35)
by nurf on Tue Nov 13, 2001 at 06:28:39 PM EST

I think that most people have something useful to contribute: a viewpoint. You can see which views are derivatives of others, and which are orthogonal. If you get enough views, you can get a feel for the veracity of the different views presented.

In 30 minutes I can nip around the net and get 20 versions of what happened, some versions with links to interesting tidbits elsewhere. In the same 30 minutes of watching mainstream media, I get one view that pretends to be unbiased.

As a foreigner in another country, I know just how much an honest attempt at an unbiased exposition is tainted by your world view. That's assuming you get any real attempts at unbiased coverage in the mass media to begin with.

I think there is no such thing as an unbiased view, and I gain more real information by collating multiple sources than by trusting someone else's rubber-stamped collation. Data always comes with an associated uncertainty, and you can only get around that by taking multiple samples. Sometimes you can only decide that you simply don't know - a worthy conclusion in itself.

Sure, it takes effort, but I don't think it takes much more time - and that is the beauty of the web.

[ Parent ]
Familiar. (4.42 / 7) (#15)
by DarkZero on Sun Nov 11, 2001 at 11:46:10 PM EST

Despite the insipid, ass kissing questions, which were basically the verbal equivalent of a softball throw, I took a look at the site. I fail to see how any of this is new or revolutionary. If I want biased, jingoistic reporting that doesn't seem trustworthy, I'll go to Fox News. And if I want biased, jingoistic reporting that doesn't seem trustworthy on my computer, then I'll go to Fox News on the web.

In fact, by comparison, Fox News has the advantage. Fewer internet buzzwords, better commentary (alright, I'll admit, it depends on the time of day), and less uncontrolled bashing of the competition. This guy is like a little kid trying to prove something in an arguement. The traditional media outlets don't feel the need to bash their internet competition at every opportunity. Why can't he act that professional? So far, it looks like a lack of confidence in his work. He comes off as incredibly insecure.


I've seen far better reporting at other places on the web. There are sites out there that are far more worthy of being held up as an example of the web's power and professionalism. InstaPundit, on the other hand, is an example of all of the bad stereotypes about web reporting: Bias, a complete lack of professionalism, and an annoying underdog mentality.



Traditional media (4.25 / 4) (#19)
by sigwinch on Mon Nov 12, 2001 at 06:39:10 AM EST

This guy is like a little kid trying to prove something in an arguement. The traditional media outlets don't feel the need to bash their internet competition at every opportunity.
That would only be bad if the traditional news organizations were comprehensive and factually correct. They are neither. On the comprehensiveness front, they have closed their eyes to the Saudis' willfull complicity with the attackers. They have also closed their eyes to the extreme security risks of disarming friendly airline passengers, and put forth an unquestioning absolute faith in "security measures". The internal conflict in Iran has been woefully underreported too. They have also completely ignored the need to create a strong, decentralized civil defense system as quickly as possible. On the factual correctness front, the reportage of the anthrax has been an ongoing fiasco of misinformation and unthinking hysteria.
InstaPundit, on the other hand, is an example of all of the bad stereotypes about web reporting...
If Glenn Reynolds was actually a reporter, you would have a point. What he is, is an analyst and politician. His goals (insofar as he has formal goals at all) are to put the pieces of the puzzle together to see the big picture, to figure out what the other mass opinion drivers are doing wrong, and to create useful plans for actually getting something done. The latter means that he has to actually speak his mind and try to get people to do useful things, as opposed to publishing pablum in the name of journalistic integrity.

If you don't like thinking people trying to accomplish things, feel free to suck at the glass teat of television. Me, I'm going to keep reading the various guerrilla journalism sites that provide me with real information.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Re: Traditional Media (4.00 / 1) (#29)
by DarkZero on Mon Nov 12, 2001 at 03:15:52 PM EST

I wasn't saying that I'm in favor of traditional media instead of his site. I wholeheartedly agree that there's quite a bit of bull shit between newspaper, television, and generally corporate reporting. My point was that this guy, however, is far from a good representation of the benefits of internet news. He's just as bad as any of the corporate media outlets are, and he compounds it with the generally insecure feel that a lot of internet news has. By comparison, even something like Fox News is better than this site. And that's saying a lot.

If you don't like thinking people trying to accomplish things, feel free to suck at the glass teat of television. Me, I'm going to keep reading the various guerrilla journalism sites that provide me with real information.

You completely missed the point.



[ Parent ]
"warblogger" (3.60 / 5) (#18)
by Delirium on Mon Nov 12, 2001 at 05:02:38 AM EST

Your use of the word "warblogger" is quite possibly one of the most evil things I have witness in the past five to ten minutes. I mean, come on, "blogger" isn't even a civilized term. Not only is it not a word, but it sounds bad. Then to combine it with another word, you end up with something not even remotely resembling a word. It's like the people in my dorm who go around asking for donations to fund parties, but insist on referring to them as "dones" (rhymes with "cones"). Needless to say, they don't get any, as that word is even more offensive than "blogger."

me too (1.50 / 2) (#24)
by kubalaa on Mon Nov 12, 2001 at 10:49:45 AM EST

I hate that. Ditto for "preggers", "rents", "frosh", and the rest.

[ Parent ]
From Reynolds' own site: (3.00 / 3) (#20)
by ti dave on Mon Nov 12, 2001 at 07:22:41 AM EST

"Posted 11/11/2001 11:09:14 AM by Glenn Reynolds THIS LETTER IN THE STAR TRIBUNE from a surgeon and, now, an end-stage cancer sufferer takes Attorney General John Ashcroft to task for his efforts to block Oregon's assisted-suicide law.

I'm quite uneasy about the assisted-suicide law. I have a family member with end-stage cancer whose doctors have seemed all too eager to write him off already, and who are also not medicating his pain properly. So my confidence in physicians in these matters isn't great."

Emphasis mine.

"But it's higher than my confidence in lawyers."

And that comment came from a Professor of Law?
I wonder why this educator has no confidence in his charges?

I'll take what Reynolds writes with a grain of salt.

Editorial Notes:

1. Please revert to initials after the first incidence of the names during the interview.

2. We know you conducted the interview and the write-up, from your intro.
You don't need to "sign" your name at the bottom.

3. Never use the term ***blogger again.

Cheers,

ti dave


"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

cynical lawyers? never! (4.00 / 1) (#27)
by h2odragon on Mon Nov 12, 2001 at 02:16:56 PM EST

...not that i have anything but massive ignorance to bring to the debate myself, but my buddy the Jurist Doctor (lawyer version of PhD she tells me) has the same attitude, without the polite restraint. She worked hard to instill that cynicism in her lawyer larvae students, too; and all those I knew loved her for it.

[ Parent ]
Cluetrain and Gonzo Marketing (4.00 / 1) (#28)
by GoingWare on Mon Nov 12, 2001 at 02:26:56 PM EST

The books The Cluetrain Manifesto and Gonzo Marketing are relevant here.

Gonzo Marketing in particular says that mass merchandising through advertising broadcast on mass media is failing.

What is taking the place of one-way broadcast to a mass audience of stupified consumers, is now conversations in online communities between people who come together for a common interest - communities like K5.

Traditional marketing techniques are ineffective at reaching the people who participate on the Internet - witness the collapse of banner advertising funded websites.

What Gonzo author (and Cluetrain co-author) Christopher Locke says that companies need to do to survive in the Internet age is to participate in an honest and meaningful way in online communities. He praises the example of Ford giving computers and internet access to all 300,000+ employees.

Also taking place on the Internet are of course weblogs - where news and opinion on a huge variety of subjects take place out of the editorial control of Big Media. And rapidly people are finding they prefer it to the pablum served to us by AOLTimeWarner.


I am the K5 user now known as MichaelCrawford. I am not my corporation.


Punditry vs. Reporting (4.00 / 2) (#31)
by owillis on Tue Nov 13, 2001 at 02:23:45 AM EST

As someone who runs a site that has been (probably correctly) with "war blogs", I certainly don't see them as reporting but as an extension of the editorial pages. Unlike Prof. Reynolds I have no real world connection to the traditional educational/governmental structure, but I have had people emailing me stories and requestiong comment or engaging me in debate on my site. It's sort of been like a virtual stoop, or bar table where you sit with your pals and pontificate. The blog just happens to be "the host".
-- Oliver Willis
An Operative with an Agenda
My Own Op-Ed Piece (3.50 / 2) (#32)
by GoingWare on Tue Nov 13, 2001 at 04:34:10 AM EST

(mentioned this in my diary too).

Read what I have to say about the threat to America's civil liberties, and what you can do to preserve them at:


I am the K5 user now known as MichaelCrawford. I am not my corporation.


Correction (none / 0) (#36)
by David MacLean on Tue Nov 13, 2001 at 10:43:55 PM EST

The story should have read that the Instapundit gets 16,000 hits a day. But it is probably more than that now. I apologize for the typo. DM

Online punditry is giving traditional editorial pages a kick in the ass | 38 comments (32 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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