Michael Wolff writing at Newser says that Jonathan Alter is the cause of Newsweek’s decline. Something about Alter’s “glowering presence”. Probably not. Blogs are the cause of Newsweek’s decline, just like they are the cause of Glenn Beck’s ascendance and and the likes of Sarah Palin rising to fame and power. As a matter of fact, you might as well just blame the Internet for everything bad in contemporary culture, as well as most of the good.
Blogs and the voice of the quarrelsome, uneducated, and completely unprofessional, have diminished the respect once held by journalists. People want to hear their own views validated, they do not want truth, Humans have never wanted truth. Were Glenn Beck to tell the truth, or to have any respect whatsoever for it, he would not be popular, he would not be rich, and nobody would care what he had to say. Instead of being a reasonable, fair, professional commentator, he is instead a character actor embodying the spirit of the common man, the average red state American. He is simply spewing forth the views of his audience, regurgitating that which they, and all the people like them already believe. Phrasing absurd, bigoted propaganda in more refined terms so as to make them feel smart for thinking the way they do.
To a certain kind of person, the educated professional is a boring elitist to whom they cannot relate. There is nothing there to cheer for, to enjoy vicariously. Jonathan Alter, with his reliance on learning and experience speaks from an ivory tower to which they cannot approach and have no desire to approach. The blogger, though, with hyperbole, and typo-riddled half-truths, misunderstandings, and speculation masked as fact, is entertaining, approachable, and offers a kind of clarity.
This is a blog, I am a blogger. I, too, write in the typo riddled, half-truths and speculative nonsense. I don’t think it is a bad thing. This is life, blogs are supposed to suspect, untidy, rough, organic. They are like families with several small children, barely functional, but still worthwhile, still possessing that which is of value. The idea is to make you think, to make you assess, and work it out. You are supposed to think critically, not simply accept as true. Be cynical, don’t trust.