Bloggers vs. the “real” media (again)

January 2nd, 2005 – 8:33 pm
Tagged as: Uncategorized

In the latest issue of New York Press, Matt Taibbi has a great column that uses Time Magazine’s pathetic choice of President Bush as their “Person of the Year” to make some points about both bloggers and big media.

But more often than not, the gripe about bloggers isn’t that they’re unethical. It’s that they’re small. In the minds of people like Sullivan, not being part of a big structure intrinsically degrades the amateur, makes him a member of a separate and lower class; whereas in fact the solidarity of any journalist should always lie with the blogger before it lies with, say, the president. Journalists are all on the same side, or ought to be, anyway.

Not Time magazine, though. Time lay with the president. Time big-time lay with the president. What was great about Sullivan’s “Year of the Insurgents” column last week was how beautifully it threw the rest of the “Person of the Year” issue into contrast. Here’s Sullivan bitching about bloggers needing to stay on the margins where they belong; meanwhile, his “respectable” media company is joyously prancing back and forth along 190 glossy pages with George Bush’s cock wedged firmly in its mouth.

The “Person of the Year” issue has always been a symphonic tribute to the heroic possibilities of pompous sycophancy, but the pomposity of this year’s issue bests by a factor of at least two or three the pomposity of any previous issue. From the Rushmorean cover portrait of Bush (which over the headline “An American Revolutionary” was such a brazen and transparent effort to recall George Washington that it was embarrassing) to the “Why We Fight” black-and-white portraiture of the aggrieved president sitting somberly at the bedside of the war-wounded, this issue is positively hysterical in its iconolatry. One even senses that this avalanche of overwrought power worship is inspired by the very fact of George Bush’s being such an obviously unworthy receptacle for such attentions. From beginning to end, the magazine behaves like a man who knocks himself out making an extravagant six-course candlelit dinner for a blow-up doll, in an effort to convince himself he’s really in love.

One of the main points he makes, and one I definitely agree with, is that the media is supposed to see itself as an adversary of the government, working hard to make sure the politicians are held accountable for what they say and do. Apparently much of the mainstream media doesn’t think that’s the case anymore, while at the same time they want to act like they’re carrying on the great journalistic traditions of the past.

[via Atrios and others]

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