Questioning Rep. Polis’ News Judgment
A couple of newspaper articles caught my eye this morning. Jonathon Berlin writes of his years at the recently shuttered Rocky Mountain News. Berlin came of age at the Rocky during the first years of this century, when the newspaper relentlessly covered Denver and its politicians, winning awards and Pulitzer prizes for its efforts, and he wonders what will fill the gap left by newspaper closings.
“As more journalists move on, who will do this kind of work? And how will the world be affected as less of it is done,” Berlin asks. “It’s not cheap, it’s not easy and it takes a very special collection of people and skills that budget-minded companies don’t often have the tolerance to incubate.”
Well, my congressional representative, Jared Polis, for whom I voted, answered that question in another story: bloggers. The Denver Post, the still-standing newspaper in that city, quotes Polis telling the Denver Young Democrats on Sunday: “The media is dead and long live the new media.”
I generally expect my congressman to know that media is plural, but I have given up on that one. But then he adds that since bloggers “killed the newspapers” and now “own the media,” they have a responsibility: “It’s important for all of us to reach out to some of those on the other side and present the progressive point of view.”
Bloggers killed newspapers? Replace newspaper reporters with progressive bloggers? Can Polis be serious? There are many reasons for the collapse of newspapers, but they have to do with numbers and corporate ownership and declining advertising, and despite what some bloggers want you to believe, little or nothing to do with bloggers.
Now perhaps our freshman representative, full of himself and the current progressive hegemony, was just trying to bump up his hip quotient with his young Democratic constituents, but it’s equally easy to say that Polis is pleased to see that newspapers like the Rocky, which often watched politicians like himself through a less-than-glowing lens, are going away, replaced with bloggers who praise his progressivism. If Polis has his way, there soon won’t be a Denver Post to print the idiotic things he says in public forums. Instead, “citizen journalists” will help push his agenda.
A personal note about “citizen journalists.” I am by trade a journalist and I write this weblog, so I guess you could call me a “citizen journalist.” What that means is that I write about subjects in which I am interested or passionate about. I don’t have an editor to challenge what I write or question how I write it. So I am not a “journalist,” and bloggers who say they are journalists are simply not being honest with themselves. Like me writing this post, they are advocates, not journalists. There is a place for both, but one won’t “replace” the other. And certainly not Rep. Polis and his blogging advocates.