The whole “bloggers vs. journalists” debate feels insanely remote to me, but it’s not hard to understand why it often seems to be the only topic of discussion when it comes to talking about weblogs. The thing to remember is that there is more than one blogosphere: people are interested in different things, and will gravitate towards weblogs that touch on the things that interest them, drifting away from the ones that don’t. Personally, I find endless, acrimonious debates about Social Security and the war on terrorism to be incredibly boring, almost as boring as endless, acrimonious debates about whether journalists are territorial hacks or bloggers are rumor-mongering yobs.

That’s just me, though. If I was a full-time professional journalist, I would probably be the kind of person that cared more about the news, and would read more weblogs by people who comment on the news. I would probably also respond more to people who accused me of being a territorial hack. And I would respond in the forum that I am used to expressing myself in: in newspaper and magazine articles, on radio and TV shows.

Of course, if I watch TV or read the newspaper, I’m going to end up hearing all about blogs as competition to mainstream journalism, and little or nothing about other types of weblogs that have nothing to say about journalism at all, but are instead concerned with shoes or cheese. But while not everyone reads political/journalistic weblogs, pretty much everyone consumes mainstream news media in one form or another, and so the whole blogosphere is framed as being a monolithic institution set against the MSM; blogging is, through the MSM’s discourse, defined as being about news and politics, despite the fact that if you actually look at the blogosphere(s) for more than a couple of minutes, it’s clear that political blogs are only a small subset of what’s out there.

So on the one hand, “Blogosphere vs. MSM” is only a debate that matters to a subset of the wider weblogging universe, and on the other, its prominence is actually an indicator that mainstream media still dominates popular discourse and actually has nothing to worry about.

Me? I’m going to read some more of Darth Vader’s blog.