"The profound importance of the blogosphere…"

Glenn Greenwald:

The profound importance of the blogosphere is grounded in the fact that the other institutions and safeguards which are supposed to exist as a check on abuses and excesses by the government are rotted and broken. Congress is co-opted, corrupt, and under the control of the Bush Administration; the national Democratic Party is paralyzed by fear, indecision, and a suffocated, or missing, soul; and the role which the media plays is so far removed from what it is intended to be — and from what it has to be in order for us to maintain a healthy and functioning democracy — that one can literally spend every day documenting its gross failures and abuses.

To me, the blogosphere is, at its core, an instrument that is being used by citizens to congregate and figure out ways to create new weapons and competing systems to rectify those failures. For that reason, most people who read and participate in blogs believe that blogs now play an irreplaceably important role in trying to force some measure of change. I certainly believe that.

3 thoughts on “"The profound importance of the blogosphere…"

  1. Felix

    Lemme get this straight. Blogs are a way to rectify the failures of:
    (a) the executive branch;
    (b) the legislative branch;
    (c) the Democratic Party;
    (d) the media.

    This would be funny if Mr Greenwald didn’t think he was speaking on behalf of “most people who read and participate in blogs”. Maybe he forgets that “most people who read and participate in blogs” are 14-year-olds on LiveJournal, or horny 20somethings on MySpace, or just people who like this new way of communicating with other people, on subjects ranging from vintage outboard motors to grilled cheese sandwiches. Why is it that political bloggers are the only bloggers myopic enough to believe that they’re the only bloggers out there?

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  2. Lance Knobel

    Yes, but, Felix.

    All media forms are used for largely trivial ends. But that doesn’t disqualify them from having powerful potential to change the world. Newspapers did that, radio did that, television did that. I think there’s more than a decent chance that citizen-created media, particularly blogs, will have the impact in which Greenwald believes.

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  3. Felix

    Do I think that blogs have a powerful potential to change the world? Yes. Do I count myself among the people who “believe that blogs now play an irreplaceably important role in trying to force some measure of change”? Yes, with caveats, and with the emphasis on the “trying”.

    On the other hand, do I think that “most people who read and participate in blogs” believe that? No. The people who read and participate in blogs don’t need to believe in blogs in order for blogs to have an impact. They don’t need to be politically active or aware. Greenwald is a political blogger who sees everything through political eyes, and my point was really no more than that a gadget blogger, say, would never think that the blogosphere was all about gadgets. But many political bloggers do think the blogosphere is all about politics. And it isn’t.

    As for Greenwald’s assertions, do I believe that blogs can help to rectify the failures of the government? No: blogs are in no way a replacement for the (arguably failing) checks and balances which are built into the Constitution. On the other hand, blogs are a wonderful way for the likes of Glenn Greenwald to have a significant impact on the national electoral process.

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