Michael Kinsley’s piece–on the speed with which he got useful reponses to his Social Security argument from the blogosphere–skirts an obvious point. It’s not just that Kinsley got more helpful criticism from the blogosphere (when Andrew Sullivan and Josh Marshall posted it on their sites) than he got from the bigshot economists he sent it to. Kinsley got more overall attention for his argument by making it in the blogosphere than it would have gotten if he’d printed it in the rather large conventional paper whose opinion pages he runs. And I’m not just talking “more attention” in the sense that the blogosphere is big–bigger than the conventional print-centric media elite. Kinsley’s thesis got more attention not just in the blogosphere but within the conventional print-centric media elite, even from those who pay little attention to blogs, because he got it posted on some blogs. … Crudely put, Tim Russert and Al Hunt and William Safire and Bob Shrum and Sen. Harry Reid are more likely to know about Kinsley’s idea because Kinsley bypassed his own LAT op-ed page.

Excellent point — and with implications that some people should find deeply worrisome.