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As the blogosphere expands, diversifies and matures, many folks in the conservative blogging world are tempted to say that the mainstream, legacy, alphabet network media has become obsolete. Bloggers seemingly break more news, do more investigative journalism, produce high quality audio and video, and fill a void that newspapers are no longer able to fill. As ad revenue has shrunk, reporting staffs at newspapers across the nation have been slashed, and circulation is shrinking. All while consumers have an ever growing appetite for news, amplified by the instant access of social media. It is tempting to view this landscape and smugly conclude that we bloggers are the wave of the future, and it's only a matter of time until the MSM is little more than a memory.
There's something that's been brewing in the back of my head for several months, and it's causing me to take the alternate view. I participated in a tweetup with James O'Keefe, and asked him that question - is the goal of alternative media to destroy the mainstream media? His answer was a resounding No. He posited that the conservative blogosphere still needed the mainstream media, and vice versa.
Think about it. We can break all the news we want, create the most amazing videos and pontificate with the best podcasts out there, but if it doesn't change the direction of public discourse, it isn't actually going to change anything. After all, isn't that why we all started blogging, to change things? If we bloggers are honest with ourselves, we should admit that we need the megaphone. It's simply a matter of finding the best way to gain the notice of that megaphone and utilizing it to get our message out.
It's more of an activist model of media. For those of us got active in politics in 2009, activism is still the motivation - to change public perceptions and public policy by applying the proper pressure at the proper points. If we don't use the media, we are not utilizing every tool in our toolbox.
In any event, just because newspapers are dying, doesn't mean that tv and radio are following suit. It doesn't matter how much of a liberal bias is exhibited by the nightly national news programs. The great advantage we have as bloggers is to exert pressure. If the MSM isn't covering a story, we can MAKE them.
The MSM is always going to make a great foil, and give us something to blog about. The "the MSM didn't cover my story because BIAS" stories pretty much write themselves - and drive traffic to boot.
So while it may be an uneasy and at times troubled symbiosis, bloggers can and should learn to work with the legacy media outlets. And vice versa.