There was a time when most bloggers were just guys who lived in their parents’ basements harping about the latest conspiracy theories. Not surprisingly, they were often not taken seriously. However, times have changed. With the dominance of new media forms and the exponential increase in online communication over the last decade, bloggers have become quite powerful. Countless scandals have been exposed and politicians removed from office because of the work of online opinion writers. Perhaps someone should tell that to Juan Williams. Earlier this week, during a debate with conservative columnist Michelle Malkin on Fox News, Williams remarked that his opponent was “just a blogger.” Williams, in his own opinion, is a “real reporter,” and should therefore be taken more seriously. I’ll try to get past the condescension in Juan William’s statement in order to make sense of his point. Ok I tried, I can’t do it. To discount bloggers and put them in the proverbial corner is both disrespectful and naïve.
Maybe Juan Williams just has a bad case of sour grapes. His livelihood is threatened by bloggers every day. As “real reporters” face a shrinking job market, bloggers are popping up all around cyberspace. They’ve filled the journalistic void caused by the lack of fair reporting in the media today. Hundreds of thousands of bloggers, old and young, male and female, have taken to doing the job that mainstream journalists and reporters often neglect: searching for the facts and revealing the truth. Many are not even paid for it. Such bloggers write because they want to, not because they’re being paid by a large news outlet. When bloggers do the job that journalists like Williams fail to do, they hold these “real reporters” accountable.
Bloggers strike fear into the hearts of many people in the public eye, and for good reason. Over the last few years, blogs have led to the downfall of many politicians and have exposed several scandals. ACORN, President Obama and Eric Holder have all gone up against bloggers and failed in one way or another. Anthony Weiner’s career and reputation went down the tubes mostly due to the work of late blogger Andrew Breitbart. Oh, and remember a guy named Matt Drudge? Bill Clinton certainly does. Bloggers (like those of us here at The College Conservative) have made an impact on politics and on history. The political power that we wield is something that threatens both politicians and journalists. People in the public eye need to be held accountable and many bloggers have taken on this monumental task.
Bloggers have sent powerful messages to politicians all around the United States. You know what the best part is? Most of the time, bloggers are uncontrollable. More specifically, we are free and independent thinkers. Conversely, many mainstream reporters and news outlets are nothing but propaganda machines (MSNBC is pretty much just a shill for the Obama administration anymore); bloggers, however, take advantage of the freedom of the internet. Anyone with a computer and a few well-researched opinions can make a splash as a blogger. We exercise our first amendment rights all over cyberspace. No wonder domestic terrorist Brett Kimberlin has such a problem with bloggers. It’s never fun when you are being bombarded by thousands of writers all across the internet (not that his actions are justified by any means). Sometime bloggers can be a bit annoying, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be. What use would we be if we didn’t pester politicians every once in a while with the facts? Thus, I recommend that Juan Williams needs to revise his opinion on bloggers. We have already made powerful statements in politics and, at times, have made history. I predict that in the future, especially during this election cycle, bloggers will have an even bigger position to play. Then again, what would I know? I’m just a blogger.