All of these arguments about the need for reporters to report facts are dishonest. No one challenges this notion. No individual blogger could conceivably devote enough hours of his spare time (or his blogging time, if he does this full-time) to develop, confirm, and write a true bit of first-hand journalism once a week or so.
And the MSM knows that. They know their job on that score is secure -- simply because no one but a salaried reporter could put in forty hours a week working on a single story. (Especially because 99% of stories are not terribly important or remarkable, but still need to be reported -- but obviously no blogger could write up the Kalamazoo Crime Blotter three times a week and expect to be read by more than three thousand people as an absolute ceiling.)
What they are worried about is the decline in their influence as to matters not directly related to data-collection and not even remotely related to reportage. They're worried that they're losing their ability to shape (and mislead) public opinion in ways they find best for the public good. These people did not get into journalism, after all, to report on 3M's quarterly earnings advisory. They got into journalism to change things.
And they're desperately scrabbling to hold on tight to that bit of undeserved, undue influence by leveraging their entirely-unrelated qualifications to collect and disseminate raw information into a role they actually desire and feel they are worthy of-- a certified, credentialed priesthood of general wisdom, weighing in expertly on matters of politics, scientific and technological ethical dilemmas, foreign policy and of course military strategy, etc.
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