"[The success of bloggers bringing down Lott and Rather have shown] that journalism is an activity, and not a profession. But here Mr. Reynolds is not quite the mainstream-media basher that the book's long subtitle suggests. (It claims, in part, that "An Army of Davids" will show "how markets and technology empower ordinary people to beat big media.") He recognizes that bloggers and the mainstream media (MSM) are supplements to one another as much as competitors. If bloggers can challenge and criticize the MSM, they depend on it for most of their information. The result should be a self-correcting system. Mainstream editors get faster off the mark (one hopes) because they realize that any dithering will be exposed by the blogosphere; and mainstream journalists get more self-critical because they realize that ignorance and bias will be immediately exposed.
Woolridge's review makes me want to rush out to buy both "Army" and AW's own book co-written by John Micklethwait, of "The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America." Bloggers have altered the agendas of big media, bringing accountability and balance into agendas that are obvious, but insurmountable unless confronted en masse. Woolridge ends by including the gigantic and absurdly incompetent US government bureaucracy, which has failed its citizens from the FBI to Katrina to prescription medicines in the targets Bloggers should aim for:
The David army envisioned by Mr. Reynolds may well, in the long run, end up beating the Goliaths of big media and big government into submission. In the meantime, let's hope for a more modest goal: that it can make them a little better at doing their jobs.