So there I was, waiting patiently for my chance to talk about blogging and the KVAL non-story with Lars Larson, when Peter DeFazio calls in and bumps me...
But this is actually a good thing, and it helps me to illustrate why blogs are so important:
I don't have to depend on a conventional radio news show to get my message out! I can do it right here from my keyboard.
This is the REAL power of the blogosphere. Anyone with a PC and an internet connection can contribute to the flow of information. No one is dependent on any traditional medium to be heard. So I only got a few words in with Lars today. That's no problem. Here I am now with a chance to say more.
This is something you don't get with KVAL or any other conventional news feed:
Let's just say, for argument's sake, that KVAL interviewed me. If I made the air at all, it would have been one or two sound bytes, chosen by them to portray me in whatever light they wanted. But here, on my blog, I AM IN CHARGE. I get to set the agenda. I get to write what I want. I get to portray myself any way I choose. And I leave it open for you readers to leave comments and ask for a response from me, or from other readers. And it here to stay, so you can come back and read it again if you need to.
Whereas, with KVAL, you get a telecast and then...
POOF! It's gone, and all that is left is the memory of your perception. You have no chance to ask for more. The participants have no chance to explain in depth. And, unless you videotape and archive every show, you can't go back and check it once it's gone.
I have power here. And while I appreciate Lars and all the support he's given me, it's no setback to get bumped from the show so Peter DeFazio can come on. By now, most people who were listening to DeFazio have already forgotten a lot of what he said (partly because it is the nature of the medium, but also partly because most of what he says is simply forgettable). And an hour after you read this, you will have forgotten most of what I typed... but you can come back and read it again.
Of course, the durability of the written word is nothing new. People have been writing down their thoughts since the dawn of time. But blogs are making the written word more accessible to the masses. Back around 600 years ago or so, the printing press made it possible to mass-produce and distribute books. But for 600 years, the cost of printing still made it impossible for the average person to spread his word effectively: you had to get someone to fork over money to make it work. The rich, of course, could finance themselves. And governments could take money from the people in order to subsidize the publishing of anything supportive of their agenda. Otherwise, you had to get people to pay you money in exchange for your words. That turned the publishing of news into a business driven by profit, and as such, news content got watered down to the lowest common denominator. Accordingly, more people today read The National Enquirer than The Wall Street Journal.
Blogs are changing that. You can read blogs for free, and blog publishers can reach thousands, even millions, of readers for a relatively small cost. And with some very minimal intrusion from advertising (hint: go click on my ads), most bloggers can recoup any costs incurred from bandwidth and hosting. I am not beholden to big corporate advertisers who might be offended by my content. I am not dependent on subscribers who demand a certain type of content. And I sure as hell don't need taxpayer subsidies (*cough* NPR *cough* PBS)! I can write what I want, when I want, and know that you will read it.
This scares the hell out of the mainstream media. So naturally, they don't want to encourage anyone to turn to blogs for information. But at the same time, they can't completely ignore us. When blogs take down a giant like Dan Rather, the mainstream media has to take notice. So what do we get? We get fluff journalism like the KVAL piece: just enough to get the thousands of people writing in asking for a story on blogs to tune in, but not enough to show anyone that blogs are worth reading... and as a consequence, their own ineptness adds credibility to my theory that the mainstream media is outdated and blogs are the medium of the future.
So I'd like to thank Congressman DeFazio for giving me a chance to think about this and spell it out for my readers. And Lars, don't forget, you promised me some sausage from that elk you bagged!