WRITING IN THE BOSTON HERALD, columnist Jules Crittenden encourages newspapers to “Say no to the AP’s shoddy work:”

When a company defrauds its customers, or delivers shoddy goods, the customers sooner or later are going to take their business elsewhere. But if that company has a virtual monopoly, and offers something its customers must have, they may have no choice but to keep taking it. That’s when the customers, en masse, need to raise a stink. That’s when someone else with the resources needs to seriously consider whether the time is ripe to compete. . . .

The AP, once a just-the-facts news delivery service, has lost its rudder. It has become a partisan, anti-American news agency that seeks to undercut a wartime president and American soldiers in the field. It is providing fraudulent, shoddy goods. It doesn’t even recognize it has a problem.

This is the point at which, another big American industry learned, people start buying Japanese. But as an American newspaper, if you want to provide your readers with affordable regional, national and international news, you have to deal with the AP. If newspapers don’t have an alternative, readers do. It’s called the Internet. That’s why newspapers, if they don’t want to be dragged further into irrelevance and disrepute, have to tell The Associated Press they are dissatisfied with its product.

The Internet will even empower competitors in the news-service business. In fact, it already is doing so, as blogger-embeds like Bill Roggio, Bill Ardolino, Michael Yon, etc. are demonstrating. This is just the beginning, though.

Crittenden also has some cautionary notes for bloggers, at his own blog.