Blogger Billmon (of the "Whiskey Bar" site) disappeared about a month ago and recently resurfaced on the op-ed page of the LA Times, griping that bloggers are being co-opted through advertising and gradually absorbed into the major media. It's definitely happened here; I'm constantly being offered plum sponsorship if I would just stick to one subject. (Kidding.) Billmon makes one good point: "The political blogosphere already has a bad habit of chasing the scandal du jour. This election season, that's meant a laser-like focus on such profound matters as the mysteries of Bush's National Guard service or whether John Kerry deserved his Vietnam War medals. Meanwhile, more unsettling (and important) stories like the Abu Ghraib prison scandal or the great Iraq weapons-of-mass-destruction snipe hunt quietly disappear down the media memory hole. And bloggers either can't, or won't, dig them back out again."

But he's just as guilty of focusing on A-list bloggers as he says the media is. Instead of using his moment in the sun to steer readers to less-appreciated venues, he kvetches about a handful of peers he perceives as "making it." Like we give a flip. James Poniewozik used to be a regular, hilarious read for me in Salon, but since he became Time's TV critic I haven't read a single word he's written. (I just never read Time.) The same will happen when Atrios or Kos cross over to the dark side. Or Billmon, if he becomes a "pundit" and doesn't restart his blog.

(thanks to drat fink for the LA Times link--registration probably required)

- tom moody 9-27-2004 7:33 am

i think tbogg makes an interesting point in comparing blogs to indie music. some of the more popular labels get bought out by corporate entities but that has has little impact on the dozens that dont or cant "sell out."

as for focusing on the scandal du jour, the blogosphere always reflected the interests of the major media. reminds me of a complaint on dmtree that we were all sheep for focusing on iraq to the detriment of other hotspots. i disagree about his memory hole point. if bloggers feel compelled to follow a story they will. does he want everyone to be a hardened investigative journalist? doesnt he want us to be amateurs?

i hope billmon refused compensation for the op-ed, i wouldnt want it to compromise his ethics.
- dave 9-27-2004 4:44 pm





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