If by “war correspondent” you mean “someone who watches a lot of television”

One of these days, someone who really understands the blogs is going to write the definitive story. But it hasn’t happened yet.

According to Howard Kurtz, the hot new trend this war is Weblogging from the Front Lines. Or something like that.

This is backed up by the obligatory Instapundit quote:

“The most interesting thing about the blog coverage is how far ahead it is of the mainstream media,” says University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds, whose InstaPundit.com site has seen a surge in traffic as the Iraq crisis has heated up, doubling to 200,000 hits a day. “The first-hand stuff is great. It’s unfiltered and unspun. That doesn’t mean it’s unbiased. But people feel like they know where the bias is coming from. You don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to find a hidden agenda.”

Okay, reality check: ninety-nine percent of bloggers — myself emphatically included — are doing nothing more than sitting on their ample bottoms in front of computer screens surfing various news sources and posting links. Woo-hooo! It’s a damn revolution, from the comfort of our easy chairs.

Yes, there are a few “front line” bloggers who may or may not be providing reliable information (several of them are anonymous, and as the cartoon says, on the internet no one knows you’re a dog), and there’s Kevin Sites, who’s been “asked to suspend” his warblogging. And I’m sure there are a couple of others I don’t know about.

And then there’s the rest of us, sitting on our asses and posting links and spouting off. “Ahead of the mainstream media”? Come on, Howie, apply a little critical reasoning. Depending on your perspective, blogging may provide a much needed analysis and overview, or it may just be a bunch of pathetic know-it-alls who desperately crave attention and approval — but the overwhelming majority of bloggers are decidedly not reporters. For the most part, bloggers are amateur commentators. So you “know where the bias is coming from.” Well, what a leap forward! What a change of pace from all those inexplicable columns by professional commentators like William Safire and Molly Ivins and Robert Novak and whoever else, all those mainstream media types with their impenetrable bias and unfathomable hidden agendas.

Yessirree, this internet thing that the kids are all excited about — I think it may be more than a fad.


Look, the relationship of bloggers to the mainstream media is roughly that of wood tick to deer, a parasite which draws sustenance from an unwilling host. Blogging is many wonderful things — a new form of independent publishing, giving voice to the voiceless, presenting a wide range of opinion and creating new communities and on and on — but this blogging vs. traditional media dynamic is just silly. Blogging vs. traditional punditry is really more like it, I think.

Afterthought: I stopped doing interviews about the blog when I realized I was being asked to talk about blogging more than I was being asked to talk about cartooning. There’s so much nonsense being written, I think it’s time for me to reconsider that policy.