This article from the Wall Street Journal online is actually rather remarkable. It compares and fits blogging with mainstream journalism, and is maybe the fairest take on it I’ve seen.
6. It is not true that there are no controls. It is not true that the blogosphere is the Wild West. What governs members of the blogosphere is what governs to some degree members of the MSM [main stream media], and that is the desire for status and respect. In the blogosphere you lose both if you put forward as fact information that is incorrect, specious or cooked. You lose status and respect if your take on a story that is patently stupid. You lose status and respect if you are unprofessional or deliberately misleading. And once you’ve lost a sufficient amount of status and respect, none of the other bloggers link to you anymore or raise your name in their arguments. And you’re over. The great correcting mechanism for people on the Web is people on the Web. [emphasis mine]
There are blogs that carry political and ideological agendas. But everyone is on to them and it’s mostly not obnoxious because their agendas are mostly declared.
7. I don’t know if the blogosphere is rougher in the ferocity of its personal attacks than, say, Drew Pearson. Or the rough boys and girls of the great American editorial pages of the 1930s and ’40s. Bloggers are certainly not as rough as the splenetic pamphleteers of the 18th and 19th centuries, who amused themselves accusing Thomas Jefferson of sexual perfidy and Andrew Jackson of having married a whore. I don’t know how Walter Lippmann or Scotty Reston would have seen the blogosphere; it might have frightened them if they’d lived to see it. They might have been impressed by the sheer digging that goes on there. I have seen friends savaged by blogs and winced for them—but, well, too bad. I’ve been attacked. Too bad. If you can’t take it, you shouldn’t be thinking aloud for a living. The blogosphere is tough. But are personal attacks worth it if what we get in return is a whole new media form that can add to the true-information flow while correcting the biases and lapses of the mainstream media? Yes. Of course.