What starts off as another tribute to the Internet:
Not since the birth of the printing press have our lives been so dramatically affected by the way we create and consume information - both to our enormous benefit and, perhaps, to our growing peril.
What is wonderful and miraculous about the Internet needs little elaboration. We all marvel at the ease with which we can access information - whether reading government documents previously available only to a few, or tracking down old friends and new enemies.
Quickly devolves into a flaming and fisking of everything blog:
It is this latter - our new enemies - that interests me most. I don't mean al-Qaida or Osama bin Laden, but the less visible, insidious enemies of decency, humanity and civility - the angry offspring of narcissism's quickie marriage to instant gratification.
There's something frankly creepy about the explosion we now call the Blogosphere - the big-bang "electroniverse" where recently wired squatters set up new camps each day. As I write, the number of "blogs" (Web logs) and "bloggers"(those who blog) is estimated in the tens of millions worldwide.
In one breath she praises blogs:
Although I've been a blog fan since the beginning, and have written favorably about the value added to journalism and public knowledge thanks to the new "citizen journalist,"
in the next she disparages blogs.
I'm also wary of power untempered by restraint and accountability.
I admit, there are some people who blog in an irresponsible manner and over time, those people will lose their readership for they have little interesting to say. I will also freely admit that many bloggers do little to no fact checking, which does tend to undermine the efficacy of blogs as a legitimate news source.
Having said that, many bloggers write about that which they know quite well. Take Allison Hayward over at Skeptic's Eye. She writes a great deal about campaign finance--because she used to work as a campaign finance attorney at the Federal Election Commission!! She has llikely forgotten more about campaign finance than any of the "carpal-tunneled wretches, overworked and underpaid, who suffer near-pathological allegiance to getting it right" (who regularly don't) journalists Parker praises.
I love this little gem:
Bloggers persist no matter their contributions or quality, though most would have little to occupy their time were the mainstream media to disappear tomorrow.
Unlike her who gets paid to write this tripe, many of the bloggers I know have real jobs. Those who do original reporting often have to rely on donations to keep their sites going since the mainstream media seems incapable of credentialing, let alone paying a blogger to report.
I mean no disrespect to the many brilliant people out there - professors, lawyers, doctors, philosophers, scientists and other journalists who also happen to blog. Again, they know who they are. But we should beware and resist the rest of the ego-gratifying rabble who contribute only snark, sass and destruction.
You can't have it both ways. If she means no disrespect to people who blog part-time, then why write this column at all. She writes part-time, according to the bio blurb at the bottom of the column. What makes her so damn superior?
But the irony of the whole situation is that Parker chose the very medium, the internet, to post her thoughts on the revolution that is citizen journalism. Her day job appears to be "director of the School of Written Expression at the Buckley School of Public Speaking and Persuasion in Camden, South Carolina." Director of what?? So this is her credential to be columnist? What separates her from the millions of bloggers, that her writings are "syndicated?" The fact that linking is a different form of syndication is somehow less worthy than what she does?
After spending several paragraphs comparing bloggers to Lord of the Flies, she ends her piece:
We can't silence them, but for civilization's sake - and the integrity of information by which we all live or die - we can and should ignore them.
What would happen if no one read Parker on Townhall, would Townhall drop her as a columnist? If this is her best, one can only hope--for civilization's sake.