A multi-billion dollar business isn't going to go down the tubes quietly. The legacy media will do everything they can to ensure they remain in business. The first line of defence was to ignore the blogs entirely. The second, now being played out, is the plethora of recent stories in the NYT, the WSJ, and elsewhere which cast the Internet itself as a nefarious siren of corruption insinuating itself into our living rooms. It enables child pornography, it allows stalkers to do their stalking, etc., etc.--all the usual boogeymen of the Twenty-First Century. (It aids the terrorists too--they use Google maps--but that's not an Official Boogeyman so it isn't mentioned.)
The Internet-as-demon defence isn't likely to work much better than the blogs-don't-exist approach. The third line of defence will be a legal attack--bloggers will be assailed as "contributors" to political campaigns, and the creeping censorship of our ever more draconian election laws will be used to stifle the new media. You read it here first.
There is hope. The FEC quietly ruled last autumn that bloggers do qualify for the "journalist" exception to the campaign finance laws. "The Commission concludes that the costs Fired Up [a set of blogs] incurs in covering or carrying news stories, commentary, or editorials on its websites are encompassed by the press
exception, and therefore do not constitute 'expenditures' or 'contributions' under the
Act and Commission regulations." Full link.
What, you didn't read the reports of this in the legacy media? All of you who are contributing to this site through posts or comments, go look yourself in the nearest mirror and proudly affirm: "I am a journalist now!". Er, on the other hand, maybe you want to retain your self-esteem. Don't expect the legacy media to take this lying down however. Expect Prominent People in the legacy party to do their utmost to help their allies in the legacy media. Blogs are the true voice of the people, a title the rich and powerful elites of the Northeast have arrogated to themselves for a long time. It will be interesting to see how the forces of blogger-democracy fare when pitted against the forces of old-money old-boy established East-coast Ivy-league power politics. Good luck to us.
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