I posted several weeks ago a comment buried in a post that has gotton quite a bit of attention nationwide. I feel as if it's important to elaborate on the comment due to the number of blogs that decided it was an important point to discuss and I'd like to invite a discussion here on the topic.
It came in the midst of a controversy here in Wisconsin over a political blogger's summit that is scheduled for tomorrow in Milwaukee. This controversy was really about whether or not the organization sponsoring the event was really capturing the voices of the blogosphere in Wisconsin or just providing another event for the media to blow it's horn. The vast majority of the "bloggers" on the panels are high profile members of the Milwaukee media and I began thinking about the difference between them and those of us who got a free blog and started typing. This is the comment that has started the debate on a nationwide scale.
As many of you who read my posts often know, I don't get paid to do this, and I often write free stream of consciousness, and so rarely even edit my own work. Occasionally I'll catch a typo, but that's it, this is raw footage plain and simple.
I'm going out on a limb here to make a statement that's going to be controversial.
If you are a paid member of the traditional media (radio, newspaper, television, magazines, even traditional internet websites, etc...), you are NOT a blogger. You may very well post your compensated for material and opinions designed to draw advertising dollars on a blog page to increase traffic for your employer's website, but you are NOT a blogger.
I am interested that so many have linked to and written about this comment. None of them have been people who fall into the category of "non-bloggers" as I describe above. Most seem absolutely interested in the discussion, but offer no opinion either way as to how they actually feel about the subject.
The jist of what I was trying to point out is that the majority of the media no longer operates on a truly free speech doctrine. It's so tied up in the advertising dollars and editorial limits of commercial speech, that our country has made mistakes as large as the Iraq War due to the limits of what commercial media is willing to report to us.
The true beauty of the blogosphere is that people who are actually living lives as opposed to running around trying to find those stories now have an outlet to express themselves worldwide and publicly without fear of losing an income, without fear of an editor's knife and without fear of an advertiser's ire.
This is truly the most open free speech zone in the world and god bless Blogger.com and others who have made use of it free for everyone who has a computer.
I don't mean to necessarily disparage the reporters and opinion writers who make a living in the business of media. I just feel that they don't represent the heart and soul of the blogosphere. I will be attending the Summit tomorrow, listening, and asking questions and I'll report back what I learn from this summit.
In the meantime, post back to me and let me know what your thoughts are on this!