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Contrasting points of view

Here's journalist Terence Blacker at The Independent, writing about blogs:

The acme of amateur achievement is the weblog -- thoughts, opinions and news items broadcast by an individual and with a potential audience of millions. . . .

More and more Americans, it is now being said, will gather news and views from their favourite blogger, no matter how mad, ill-informed and right-wing, rather than from a newspaper or the news on television. . . .

The approach has a sort of crazed egalitarianism to it, but it also suggests that more than just knowledge flows from professionals and their institutions in the age of the Pro-Am. The checks and balances and disciplines that keep intolerance in check may also go.

On the same subject, here's Nobel Prize winning economist Gary Becker and his coauthor Richard Posner, a renowned judge and legal theorist:

Blogging is a major new social, political, and economic phenomenon. It is a fresh and striking exemplification of Friedrich Hayek’s thesis that knowledge is widely distributed among people and that the challenge to society is to create mechanisms for pooling that knowledge. The powerful mechanism that was the focus of Hayek’s work, as as of economists generally, is the price system (the market). The newest mechanism is the “blogosphere.” There are 4 million blogs. The internet enables the instantaneous pooling (and hence correction, refinement, and amplification) of the ideas and opinions, facts and images, reportage and scholarship, generated by bloggers.

I don't know about you, but my bets are on the scholars. Reading Becker and Posner without the intermediary of a magazine or journal editor is just fine with me, thanks.

Blacker's remarks remind me of the loud-mouthed Thom Loverro, who least week referred to an economics professor as a "clown" who has "no clue" about a subject he's spent years studying. Ill-informed journalists are getting their comeuppance from the blogosphere, in spades. Hat tips to Volokh, The Daily Ablution, and Newmark's Door.

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