Sullivan & Jefferson on blogospheric chaos and the press

 

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A Happy 4th from Andrew Sullivan:

The rise of this type of citizen journalism [i.e., journalism via blogs] has, in my view, increasingly exposed some of the laziness and corruption in the professional version - even as there is still a huge amount to treasure and value in the legacy media, and a huge amount of partisan, mendacious claptrap on the blogs.

But what distinguishes the best of the new media is what could still be recaptured by the old: the mischievous spirit of journalism and free, unfettered inquiry. Journalism has gotten too pompous, too affluent, too self-loving, and too entwined with the establishment of both wings of American politics to be what we need it to be.

We need it to be fearless and obnoxious, out of a conviction that more speech, however much vulgarity and nonsense it creates, is always better than less speech. In America, this is a liberal spirit in the grandest sense of that word - but also a conservative one, since retaining that rebelliousness is tending to an ancient American tradition, from the Founders onward.

And this juicyness as well:

"The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers... [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper," -- Thomas Jefferson to G. K. van Hogendorp, Oct. 13, 1785

photo via The Daily Dish


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he rise of this type of citizen journalism [i.e., journalism via blogs] has, in my view, increasingly exposed some of the laziness and corruption in the professional version - even as there is still a huge amount to treasure and value in the legacy media, and a huge amount of partisan, mendacious claptrap on the blogs.

But what distinguishes the best of the new media is what could still be recaptured by the old: the mischievous spirit of journalism and free, unfettered inquiry. Journalism has gotten too pompous, too affluent, too self-loving, and too entwined with the establishment of both wings of American politics to be what we need it to be.

We need it to be fearless and obnoxious, out of a conviction that more speech, however much vulgarity and nonsense it creates, is always better than less speech. In America, this is a liberal spirit in the grandest sense of that word - but also a conservative one, since retaining that rebellio

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