A Brilliant Babble

Andrew Sullivan —  Mar 15 2012 @ 2:24pm

Harper's publisher John MacArthur wieseltiers against the rise of online media and decline of print:

[A]s much as I object to free content, I am even more offended by the online sensibility and its anti-democratic, anti-emotional, even anti-intellectual effect. Devotees of the Internet like to say that the Web is a bottom-up phenomenon that wondrously bypasses the traditional gatekeepers in publishing and politics who allegedly snuff out true debate. But much of what I see is unedited, incoherent babble indicative of a herd mentality, not a true desire for self-government or fairness.

Alexis Madrigal sighs:

I do respect one thing about MacArthur's op-ed: he does truly value writers and their writing. We agree there. But it is precisely because I value my writing that I want it to be online and free.

I don't write merely to rub two pennies together; I write because I want to have an impact in the world. I want to work with my community to break stories and tell jokes, to highlight injustice and find better ways of solving problems. That means reaching readers where they are. People's lives aren't divided into "offline life" and "online life," even if we'd like to pretend that's the case. People on Capitol Hill use the Internet. People on Main Street use the Internet. People on Wall Street use the Internet. The Internet is where the action is: it's where all the elegant, dirty, pretty, lowbrow, brilliant ideas come together to commingle and evolve.