Michael Hiltzik of The L.A. Times Responds
I was pleasantly surprised to have an e-mail exchange today with Michael Hiltzik of the L.A. Times. In this post just below I critiqued Mr. Hiltzik's piece appearing today in the Times. I believe his e-mails and my responses speak for themselves:
My post made this comment:
Newspapers, the movies (maybe especially the movies!) and major booksellers are characterized by barriers to entry. An elite and demonstrably out of touch class runs all of those outlets for expression and opinion. Hiltzik seems to understand blogging more than the average old media writer, but he's still missing the biggest part of the story.Michael Hiltzik responded:
Dear Lowell,It is noteworthy that I did not contact Michael; he somehow learned of my blogging about his article and responded on his own. My response to him:
Speaking as another fan of Isaiah Berlin and as a reader of a fairly wide range of blogs, right, left, big, little, good, bad, PG, XXX, you name it, I don't find a speck of evidence that blogs as a group are any more or less elite or more or less in touch or out of touch than any other means of self-expression, or even corporate expression. What's the point of making a distinction between blogs and "old media"? Old media includes radical publications and reactionary ones, free neighborhood throwaways and the Robb Report. Plus, it's hardly true that blogging doesn't involve a barrier to entry: you have to have access to a computer, to be sufficiently well-educated to grasp the rudiments of posting (even if not HTML as such), and, generally to afford an internet connection, whether dialup or broadband.
One thing you can say about blogs is that there are lots of them, and more every day. You can't say that the profile of the blogosphere, measured any way you wish, looks any different from the rest of the society--or rather,m you can, but you can't muster any evidence for it. And even if you do think it's different, can you define the difference? I've never seen anyone do so.
Michael's response? "Go right ahead."
OK, Michael, color me impressed. I thought about e-mailing you about your story but didn't think you'd respond. (So color me a little sheepish too.)
Your points are very fair, although I continue to believe that the lack of a "gatekeeper" makes the blogosphere a much more ideologically diverse place than the L.A. Times or Paramount Pictures. That's not a value judgment, just an observation.
That said, what I really love about blogging is that you and I are having this discussion at all. I really enjoyed your piece and will be watching for others from you. And unless you object strenuously I'll post your e-mail on my blog.
Thanks so much for taking the time to respond.
Lowell C. Brown
So here you have it. I think Mr. Hiltzik "gets it," he just doesn't buy it.
What do you all say?
UPDATE: Thanks to the InstaPundit for causing an "Instalanche" on this post.