The folks at Technology Review is upset that the "digital mob" is too critical of the MSM and has claimed the careers of Dan Rather, Eason Jordan, and Jeff Gannon.
Perhaps all three men deserved their fates; maybe the blogosphere is to be applauded. But in each case, bloggers expressed an unseemly triumph after they got their man. It's hard to feel happy when bloggers turn into a digital mob. Blogs are powerful, but bloggers are rewarded for expressing extravagant opinions. And at least for now, their postings are not subject to the processes common for most stories produced by MSM: sober debate among colleagues, followed by reporting, line editing, copyediting, legal vetting, and fact checking.
What's curious about this is that the primary charge against the MSM is that it does not involve as much "sober debate, . . . vetting, and fact checking" as its defenders like to claim. Wasn't this precisely the critique of Dan Rather? Doesn't the success of blogs demonstrate that the MSM has lost much of the moral high ground upon which the Technology Review critique is premised? These are hardly original points, but many knee-jerk defenders still miss them. In my opinion, if the MSM did a better job of the things that should distinguish it from blogging, the "digital mob" would be much less of threat.