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December 20, 2006



I dare say that the readers of a blog as good as this have a great deal of expertise in different fields. Possibly we have more expertise amongst us than the massed ranks of, say, journalists at the Times. Obviously, we have more than the hundred-odd members of the government.

james C

So your argument is that because Blair is a knob, Berlins is wrong?

james higham

It's right, Chris. There is more talent in your sidebar and the blogosphere allows it rein and we can then choose to either access it or not.

Ian Bertram

Blair is indeed a knob and in this case Berlins is also wrong. He is wrong because what is happening on the web is nothing new. A report by Demos about two years ago (http://www.demos.co.uk/catalogue/proameconomy/) pointed out the huge range of skills possessed by so-called 'ordinary' people. I wrote about it here (http://ibanda.blogs.com/panchromatica/2004/11/are_you_a_proam.html) which for some reason has started popping up in my referral logs.


You're definitely preaching to the choir now. George Will (famous U.S. pundit) went so far as to dismiss blogging as an "act of narcissism." Imagine, cretins thinking they actually have something worthwhile to say.

Gary Monro

Berlins is right. There is a huge amount of absolute garbage in the blogosphere (I'm the proud owner of quite a bit of it) often made up, it seems, of somebody reading a BBC article and then writing a quick post before rushing off to work.

Of course, the strength of blogging is that although we're unhindered by inconveniences like facts (because nobody pays us, we're unaccountable), general accuracy, manners and so on we can offer a basic, politically incorrect opinion which, although not fitting in with the political orthodoxy of the day, does fit in with most normal people's view of things.

But it is a rare blogger who knows a subject well enough to really offer something new. Most blogging (yes I know there are execeptions) reacts to what journalists wrote first.



some of us *are* journalists at the Times...


But if you are a journalist, Gabriel, I have to doubt the accuracy of your remark.


Bollocks. Rather than the stenographer corps, in the blogosphere you can get your astrophysics news from an astrophysicist and your military news from Col. Lang.

If you haven't read any blogs other than Instawanker, Harry's Place and Belle, though, you are unlikely to be aware of this.


I particularly liked his comment:

"I am not saying that the amateur's view is less legitimate than the professional's"

when that is in fact exactly what he spent the entire article saying. It's all a bit "I'm not racist but...".


Journalists are amateurs at everything!

james higham

Shocks me but I have to agree with Alex here - go to his blog if you want some detailed info on how it is. That's the blogosphere as it should work.

I disagree with this comment above: "Of course, the strength of blogging is that although we're unhindered by inconveniences like facts..."

These bloggers abound, yes, but they don't last. There's definitely a process where the informed succeed in the end.

Mr Eugenides

Oh, I don't know about that, James.

But I do agree that there's a terrific de-haut-en-bas quality about a lot of these journalistic offerings about blogging - talk among yourselves if you must, they cry, but if you want *informed* comment, you must always come back to the experts.

As Yasmin A-B put it, "Mass blogging may indeed be giving access to Everyman, but is he always worth listening to?". Of course not, Yazz; but then, if we're being honest, are you?


Any man who wishes to think better of his wife should listen occassionally to Ms Alibi-Braun.


You've put your finger on the main difference between Blair and Brown. Blair is an instinct-based, gut politician. Brown is cerebral - he calculates and weighs and comes up with decisions on a rational basis. The difference in style of decision-making alone is going to produce a very different sort of Labour government when Gordon brown takes over, IMO.

Kevin Carson

Gary Monro,

That's the whole point. Bloggers link to establishment journalists and cite the information they provide. But they go a step further: they *use* the bits and pieces provided by the establishment journalists; they subject the public statements of government and corporate figures to critical analysis in terms of the information that's freely available out there. In other words, they aggregate the available information and draw conclusions.

And the real issue isn't the level of expertise of the individual blogger versus that of the "professional." It's the fact that in a network, distributed intelligence can be brought to bear. Truth emerges through an ongoing dialectic, or adversarial process. Ever hear of the Delphi process? It's been embodied in the Web. That's a huge improvement on the old world of one-way conversations.

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