Bloggers, particularly American ones, love to hate journalists and journalism. And yet, blogging is generally parasitic on journalism.

The influence shown by bloggers in the handful of celebrated blog stories didn’t happen automatically. Even Rathergate needed the certifying by major news outlets before entering the mainstream discussions.

Still, by providing a live and collectively-conscious feedback mechanism, bloggers have eroded journalists’ sovereignty over the news agenda and framing of the news that is selected.

Usually, however, MSM journalism still sets the agenda by initially selecting (and attributing relative prominance to) a particular set of stories. The major change is that the blogosphere can second-guess the relative prominance of stories by ignoring the over-hyped and demanding greater discussion of the under-reported.

How can this influence of the blogosphere on journalism be described in a way that rejects “blogger triumphalism” by aknowledging the continued dominance of traditional, hierarchical jouralism in (a) setting the initial news agenda (b) being the primary source of information of most people in every country in the world?

Jay Rosen has an excellent metaphor for describing this limited conception of blogger power. The blogosphere, he says, is the the Court of Appeal in News Judgment. Another version of this comes from K. Daniel Glover of the National Journal, who in a recent speech, dubed the blogosphere the 4.5th estate.