Tuesday, January 12, 2010

So Much for the Theory that Blogs Would Save News

The Huffington Post is having a featured sale this month! You can tell, because they promote it all over the place day after day after day. Check it out: Move your money out of big banks into smaller banks. It's a way to punish big banks, see, and it's Huffington Post founder Ariana Huffington's pet cause of the moment. So it's featured all over the front page of HuffPo. Repeatedly. As if it's a national movement with broad grassroots support when it's really just a manufactured campaign by Huffington and her crew.

Sort of like the Tea Party of the Left.

What's happening to the political blogosphere? If you've been listening to some of the evangelists for blogs, they are supposed to be better than the mainstream media (and especially newspapers) at reporting real news and what people really care about because they can't be controlled. The blogosphere (a word that always reminds me of Blagojevich, but whatever) was said to be self-correcting, because bloggers will write whatever they want to, regardless of what big advertisers or media barons with agendas or politicians try to get them to do or say.

Media owners with agendas are nothing new, and they're not necessarily bad. When I was a kid (and too young to remember this myself), the Green Bay News-Chronicle ran a long and eventually successful campaign supporting the movement to build a third bridge in the city.

But that wasn't as shameless in its mixing of real news (look, this just isn't so important a movement that it deserves multiple news spots on HuffPo's home page) with a campaign, nor did it have the cult-of-personality feature that has started to take over Huffington's site.

Alas, it's probably the wave of the future. Huffington Post continues to grow (though I check it out less and less often, preferring Talking Points Memo), and media barons love their crusades. But newspapers did it better.

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