Digital Media

MSM, the New 666

For many bloggers, no other set of three keystrokes gets the pulse racing like MSM — a quick clack-clack-clack spells the mark of the beast for many in the blogosphere, shorthand for that borg-like, monolithic force of evil others call journalism. I could cite hundreds, or thousands, or hundreds of thousands of examples; here are three from some of the most popular blogs out there.

(NB: Clearly, there is a significant political dimension to all of this — don’t take my word for it, check out this search —  with many conservative bloggers obsessed with righting the ways of a biased, liberal media or so they perceive. We’ll leave that topic for a later time.)

I’ve got a gripe about their gripe and all of the wasted keystrokes on that topic. It would be nice if the top bloggers spent more time making better posts, about more important issues, and less time and effort obsessing about the MSM. Perhaps they could begin to offer us consumers reading experiences as informative and important as Hendrik Hertzbergs "Talk of the Town" item in the New Yorker about the film "Last Best Chance" or as entertaining and provocative as Michael Lewis’s piece this past Sunday on his trip back to New Orleans.

Until the top bloggers can tackle important issues consistently — even at the potential irritation of their audiences once in a while — with verve and class and with our new set of tools and tricks, this new medium isn’t what it could or should be. And if they’re not up to the job, let’s hope some new blogger blood arrives to make this new medium worth all of the hype and heat and fury.