This ignorant blather about green blogs echoes many, many similar critiques from crusty old farts who fear the democratization of media. Without the "gatekeepers" of the traditional media, they cry, why, just anything can be published! By anyone! Even someone of … low upbringing!
Indeed, Mr. Ladle fears that unless the onrush of rabble is tamed and domesticated, "we run the risk of creating a generation of eco-illiterate consumers and voters at a crucial time for the Earth’s diminishing resources."
Yes, we wouldn’t want to risk that. Why damage all the fine work the established media has done educating consumers and voters about environmental matters?
Like most crusty old farts, Ladle completely misunderstands the blog world. He talks about blogs as though they were simply an alternative publishing platform (with no gatekeepers). But the reason blogs have had such huge impact in such a short time is precisely because they circumvent gatekeepers. They allow direct, unmediated connections. They enable people to converse and inspire and organize. They are the tool of an informed, active citizenry, not just passive news consumers. They break the monopoly the established media has on determining what’s newsworthy, what’s significant, what’s inside the boundaries of acceptable debate.
Sure there’s lots of crap out there on blogs. But after the colossal screwups and abdication of responsibility by the media in the last decade or so, I think opening up the game to non-"professionals" should be the least of our worries. I’ve learned more about environmental issues from blogs in the last few years than I ever have from established media.
Wikipedia, IMDb, the blogosphere … the people are sharing knowledge and ideas with each other directly, without middle-men. It scares the crap out of the gatekeepers and those the gatekeepers kept comfortable.
(To see a related, even more self-parodic and out-of-touch blog critique, read Lee Siegel’s already-famous column on "blogofascism" (yes, really). There are a number of delectable take-downs of Siegel floating around, but my two favorites are Josh Marshall’s and Billmon’s. OK, and Matt Yglesias’.)