I am writing, of course, about 2002.
Back in the day, there was the mediasphere and the blogosphere and a whole big debate about what this divide meant. I should know — I was one of those folks who grabbed a Blogger account and started writing because of my difficulties getting an op-ed published. I was not atypical either: Most of the first generation of bloggers that gained followings were either academics writing for a public audience or former columnists and editors experimenting with the blog format.
Despite some recent nostalgia for that just-enough-Internet era, I can recall mainstream media apprehension as well about threats to the marketplace of ideas — and to their raison d’etre. One 2004 New York Times write-up quipped, “never have so many people written so much to be read by so few.” A few years later David Frum complained about the tenor of the blog discourse: “Such criticisms — so personal, so rude, and so imperfectly grammatical — elicit only countervailing scorn from their targets.”
Despite or because of Frum’s assertion, eventually the successful first generation of bloggers went corporate. More established media outlets hired them or bought out their blog. Andrew Sullivan wrote for so many establishment outlets that I honestly cannot remember them all.