RE: Cover Your Assgate, former Reason editor Virginia Postrel makes the point that bloggers act as editors:
Nowadays when stories go public, they get checked by after-the-fact editors with expertise in every field imaginable, and that checking gets published to the entire world via the blogosphere. Bloggers may not have editors, but they serve as editors themselves.
Whole thing here.
Another way of talking about the role of bloggers is that they help create what Reason's Julian Sanchez dubbed "distributed journalism." In a fashion similar to open source software, bloggers and other online types are able to vet and critique content in truly powerful ways, even if no one is in full possession of the facts of a story.
In this column, Julian looked at how that process unmasked some odd, unscholarly behavior by controversial gun researcher John R. Lott. It's worth a re-read.