Having read Andrew Marr's little outburst recently on the subject of bloggers, my first reaction was that he was way off the mark. As Krishnan Guru Murthy pointed out, his comments seemed "unfortunately like the very things he describes: 'strangely angry and rather abusive'". It's certainly true that every day I read something on the internet, and I reel from the sheer negativity and abusiveness of the content. But, don't I read something on the internet every day because I find there to be fascinating, thought-provoking, amusing and informative articles? And — I better whisper this — some of them are written by bloggers. I think that Andrew Marr was staring at a pile of shit on the ground and exclaiming to the world how horses are good-for-nothing.
Online articles have evolved, like horses: the majesty of one cannot be separated from its propensity to spew a steady stream of effluent from its bottom. Like our four-hoofed friends, regardless of the quality of the article, the likelihood of it leaving a trail of steaming shit in its wake is very high, indeed inevitable. Unlike horses (at least I think, I'm at the edge of my equine knowledge here), the sheer volume of nag's apples left soiling the road may well increase with the quality of the article. I think the analogy is at the end of its useful life at this point, and we must retire it to the knackers yard, but the message remains: there's a distinction between producing an interesting piece of writing and sharing it with the world, and anonymously spewing your bile all over someone elses. Stephen Fry put this phenomenon into words very eloquently: "the lower half of web pages is very like the lower half of the body — full of all kinds of noxious evil smelling poison".
Sure, there are going to be blogs that hate as much as the commenters usually do, and there are certainly some perfectly reasonable comments being made on blogs, but these are exceptional case. And aren't there 'professional' publications that make the majority of their profits through hating anyway?
Let's not throw out the horse with the shit, if you know what I mean.