Thursday, December 13, 2001

APROPOS OF PFAFF: Matt Welch thinks the punditocracy is oblivious to the sea-change taking place right under their noses:

Its not just a question of underappreciated genius anymore. Something has been going on these past three months (not to mention the five years before that), yet 95% of large media companies especially monopolist newspapers seem utterly ignorant of it, or at best powerless to react to it.

What do warbloggers have in common, that most pundits do not? Id say a yen for critical thinking, a sense of humor that actually translates into people laughing out loud, a willingness to engage (and encourage) readers, a hostility to the Culture War and other artifacts of the professionalized left-right split of the 1990s, unchecked joy at discovering clever people, a readiness to admit error, tendency to write with passion and emotion, a radar attuned to personal responsibility, a sense of collegial yet brutal peer review I think the list is long, and most of the qualities stand apart from what you expect on the local op-ed page, or on the cable teevee show.

The unanswered question: Is the newspaper-reading, cable-watching, radio-listening public actually starting to savor all of these terrific weapons-grade warblogs in significant numbers? Or are they still feeding, indiscriminately and in the same numbers as always, at the Dowd/O'Reilly/Limbaugh trough?

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