If more journalists were bloggers - in between creating their more considered pieces - Norman Pearlstine would not have caved today, Judith Miller wouldn't face jail in two day's time, and bullying prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald would find his nose filled with blood from a blog-based punch to the snout.
Why? Because by not fully engaging in the network of networks, where ideas and information are exchanged these days, journalists are ceding the vast middle ground of American debate. And that lets the courts decide. It allows Pearlstine to be a weasel. And it turns a debate over journalistic shield laws into more left-right, Republican-Democrat name-calling. Why should only the liberal blogs defend the New York Times and Time, Inc. (Hint: it's about the Bush White House's possible criminality). Why should conservative blogs attack those outlets? (Hint: it's about the Bush White House's possible criminality).
In short, there is no "journalism lobby" online; working journalists, with rare exceptions, don't lower themselves to defending their actions, their reporting, their own companies. They relinquish the field all too readily.
Imagine if there was an active journalistic blog community! Why, a post entitled "Pearlstine = Wuss" would sweep through the blogosphere and his entire career would be examined in minute detail in public. Prosecutor Fitzgerald would face the same music. And, by the way, so would Time and the NYT. Ditto: the White House and its leakers.
See, it's not about abandoning journalistic principles, ethics, and techniques. It's about getting the hell off the mat.
Yes, imagine if journalists blogged. Reacted to their readers. Got into the fight. Why, the Supreme Court could have taken an extra day off.