Our occasional contributor Bookworm has a long essay on her site Bookworm Room today making the case that the mainstream media owe a debt of gratitude to the blogosphere for serving as a "crucible" in which increasingly rushed and inaccurate reporting is vetted better than it ever was in the romanticized days of fact-checking and editorial even balance. I suspect her tongue, if not quite in her cheek, is pointed in the general direction of it. As always with Bookworm, it is a graceful and entertaining read:
The blogosphere has finally created a crucible for the calcified American media. Reporters can no longer rest on their credentials and try pass off as facts unchecked stories, suspect sources, and biased reporting. They now have to go into every story prepared to do their best, because someone is finally watching — and not only watching, but able to react immediately with corrective information.
Given all this, what we in the blogosphere need to do is convince the MSM that we’re actually good for them. We’re not their enemy, we’re their best friend. Before the blogosphere came along, the MSM could print anything and get away with it. In the old days, journalistic ethics demanded a certain effort, but the 24 hour cycle seems to have created a type of carelessness that cleared away the past requirement that news stories actually get checked and rechecked. Even the best, most ethical journalistic working under those circumstances must begin to feel lazy and intellectually cheap. Now that we’re challenging them, though, we’re forcing them to operate with a degree of intellectual honesty and rigor that must elevate them in their own eyes and in the public’s. And that’s why, much as they dislike us, the mainstream journalists should be grateful for the fact that they “ain’t never had a friend like me” — someone who can improve their work, whether they want me to or not!