On Remoras and Pilot Fish

From this piece of utter bilge...

But just as CNN was never really able to reinvent itself to be indispensable for anything except covering wars and tsunamis, one can imagine the blogs settling in forever at their present level of almost wholly media-on-media impact. For now, bloggers are a second-tier journalistic species. They are remoras. The Times and CNN and CBS News are the whales and sharks to which Instapundit, Kausfiles, and Kos attach themselves for their free rides. (Remoras evolved special sucking disks; bloggers have modems.) If the sharks and whales were to go extinct, what would the blogging remoras do? Evolve into actual reporters?

Sadly, no!

I'm simply at the end of my rope with folks pretending they can't understand the function of bloggers unless they're judged against our conceptions of what a journalist is. And then there are the folks (like Andersen) who seem to think that the blogging community is nothing more than a bunch of mobile, self-appointed ombudsmen who are making a living solely by calling the mainstream media on their bullshit.

The role of ombudsman is just one of the important roles falling to bloggers in this day and age. (And wouldn't you agree that many of them are doing a bang-up job of it?) But there's a whole lot more to it. Every day, when I sit down at my desk with my lunch and visit my favorite blogs, I find the advancement of ideas every which way I turn. A lot of these ideas are original thoughts and concepts that haven't even been kicked around in the MSM. Or if they have, they haven't received nearly the coverage they deserve. For every post about such-and-such journalist bullshitting his way through a story, there's a piece (Promoted from the Kos diaries? Taken up by Atrios?) that extends an original idea. Maybe it has to do with Social Security, maybe it has to do with the war, but all of these posts have something in common - they attempt to take an original idea, give it a start in the blogosphere, and get people talking about those ideas.

Andersen likens bloggers to remoras hitching a ride on the MSM. The last time I even thought about remoras, it was when I was doing a sixth-grade report on sharks. And IIRC, there was another fish that always seemed to be mentioned in the same sentence as the remora - the pilot fish. This fish swims out ahead of the shark, appearing to lead it along. I'd liken the role of the blogger to that of the pilot fish. Ideas are hashed out in the blogosphere and the MSM eventually picks up on some of them.

You can't tell me that the MSM hasn't picked up on many of the ideas coming out of the blogosphere. We've broken too many stories, come up with some original ideas, and have shown thought leadership all the way through. Who is leeching off of whom in many of these cases?

For instance, haven't I been writing here that the blogosphere represents a return to the "Marketplace of Ideas" concept put forth by SCOTUS Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes? And then some guy named Andersen comes out with an article in New York Metro saying pretty much the same thing, but getting it wrong as to the role of the blogger. Isn't it ironic?