Two responses immediately jump to my mind. One is that one of the reasons that blogs have sprung up is that journalists have failed at times to suspect their own judgment and to recede into the background. There are, of course, the obvious examples of the press going along and not questioning government policies and practices. There is also the fact that the celebrity and name-recognition of journalists seems to matter more than whether they recede into the background.
My second response is to throw up the stop sign as Skube rounds third (thinking he has hit a home run) and exclaim, "Hold your friggin' horses!" Since when did fact-checking, verification, and perseverance become the exclusive domain of journalists? Perseverance is a resolute habit that all of us should want to develop. Both fact-checking and verification have to do with the human qualities of honesty and integrity. Sure we demand those things from journalists, but there is no specialized training or higher income for persevering or being truthful.
Allow me to point out the irony in Skube's appeal to social critic Christopher Lasch to impugn bloggers in general for flooding the zone with information rather than robust debate. That appeal is, of course, full of holes, since there are bloggers who are interested in robust debate. But the irony is that a year after Lasch published his point about information overload (too early to be directed at bloggers, as Skube points out), he published the following about journalism and other professions in The True and Only Heaven:
[T]hey were all too deeply compromised by an exaggerated concern with the "bottom line" to attract people who wished simply to practice a craft or, having attracted them by some chance, to retain their ardent loyalty in the face of experiences making for their discouragement and cynicism .... it was becoming harder and harder for people to find work with self-respecting men and women who could throw themselves in with enthusiasm. The degradation of work represented the most fundamental sense in which institutions no longer commanded public confidence.The break in public confidence is exactly the breach that many bloggers (though, granted, not all) are trying to step into. And because they may do it with enthusiasm that Lasch saw waning in journalism, Skube accuses them of merely bringing in the noise.
But Lasch himself accused journalism of giving itself too readily to the raw ambition associated with money and power. And there was a higher price to pay for that. Many bloggers see themselves as writers even when writing does not pay their bills. They may not be as motivated by the raw ambition that Lasch sees as corrosive of service and of a sense of calling, but they also don't have such corrosion standing between them and public confidence. So, bring in the noise, because when you break it down you will find robust debate in its tracks.
UPDATE: Enclave commenter, David, refers below to Talking Points Memo's response to being included in Skube's piece, even as Skube concedes that he has never read Talking Point's Memo. Another violation of the idea that journalists should know what they are writing about before they write.