Like many others, I’m obviously very interested in Comment is Free from the Guardian, a ‘superblog’ similar to The Huffington Post.
Arianna Huffington today suggested that the ‘little guy’ finds a level playing field online. This is true in many ways, not least because governments can no longer control the media, and dissidents can find a voice. However, Tim Worstall points out that Arianna’s examples are hardly members of the disenfranchised:
A former editor of the Times, Guardian columnist, a man knighted for services to journalism, very definitely one of the Great and the Good, is one of the little guys? [On Simon Jenkins presenting real time opinions]
Arianna is one of the bloggers posting on Comment is Free, along with other high-profile names. I somehow wonder whether the new venture will help level the playing field at all…
At the Press Gazette blog, Justin from Chicken Yoghurt asks whether the mainstream media are blogging properly:
I have yet to see a newspaper blog where the writer has got down and dirty with the readers. This defeats the object of blogging to a large extent and is seen as poor etiquette by many non-newspaper bloggers
I might add to this, that linking is also a huge part of blogging. The web is a perfect place to cite others, take their arguments to task, or to new places. Not only should bloggers correspond with their reader(s), but allow those readers to link elsewhere too. The first article I read on Comment is Free was by Brian Brivati, on the discrepancies between The Left’s responses to Iraq and Darfur. Could I leave a link to my earlier thoughts on the same issue? No I could not… and my comment appears devoid of context, like some fucking chump who doesn’t know to type properly.
I could blame The Guardian’s editors for this, and suggest that they really don’t care about anyone else’s opinions. However, the truth of the matter is that because the The Guardian is a highly visible part of the media business, it must ensure that none of its comment is offensive, libellous or (in these heady days) blasphemous. Moderating comments is already a Herculean task for them. Moderating links would be impossible. The result is yet another site that cannot fully exploit the power of the internet. Only the little guy, operating from his bedroom or surreptitiously at work, has the time to moderate comments properly. He is the only true blogger. The mainstream media are desperate wannabes, spending money to join the club, but always on the periphery.