Gave a book-related lecture earlier tonight at Johns Hopkins. Many thanks to the JHU College Republicans for a good time. There were a few unhinged malefactors, but it was otherwise a low-key event (especially compared to this). Was excited to meet Gregory Kane, a lonely voice of sanity at the Baltimore Sun. If you haven’t been reading his excellent columns, start now! I think the event stimulated a fruitful discussion and several attendees have e-mailed to say they were glad for a little representation of ideological diversity on a lefty-dominated campus.
I’ll have more big picture thoughts on my experiences at Berkeley, USC, JHU, and the cancelled event at AU, plus more responses to book critics in coming days, but for now I wanted to share some anecdotal signs of the now-unstoppable mainstreaming of blogs and other alternative news/opinion sources on the Internet.
While waiting at the baggage claim area at Dulles Airport, a random passenger who overheard me talking about Rathergate with my hubby chimed in with his thoughts. He was a civilian contractor based in Hawaii and he volunteered that he was an avid reader of blogs. He specifically mentioned Powerline and The Corner as favorites, and also praised Townhall.com as a must-read. In Seattle, Houston, Berkeley, and at Johns Hopkins tonight, hundreds of folks mentioned their passion for blogs, as well as for FreeRepublic.com and Lucianne.com. Several singled out another of my daily reads: Neal Boortz’s sharp and funny news round-ups and commentaries at Nealz Nuze.
And one of my favorite funny bloggers, Frank J., will love this: Two students–one at Berkeley, the other at JHU–mentioned being devoted fans of IMAO. The Berkeley student even brought her Nuke The Moon t-shirt. (“>Here’ s mine.)
It wasn’t just college students who mentioned their blog reading habits, but also many older folks who were introduced to blogs and Internet forums via their regular reading of newspaper op-ed pages and letters to the editor–which increasingly cannot avoid referencing blog scoops and blog influence.
Rathergate has accelerated the pace of this outreach to non-bloggers exponentially–and everyone in the blogosphere benefits (including those who have sniffily pooh–poohed this incredible breakthrough).
This episode is also a powerful rebuke of the MSM’s Wonkette-ization of the blogosphere–which enabled Old Media types to take comfort in gossip blogger Ana Marie Cox’s bosom and minimize blogging as a clownish fluffball enterprise. They’ll still visit her site for an occasional fix of penis jokes and fabricated rumors, but she’ll no longer be in their daily must-reads, where she has been replaced by bloggers of substance who don’t need to go slumming to command deserved attention from newsrooms across the country.
Throughout it all, the bloggers who took the lead in questioning CBS remain hard at work and have displayed traits that is so foreign to the MSM elite: intellectual and personal humility and infectious good humor. You guys are role models–for bloggers, journalists, and journalism students alike. Thank you for all you do!