First rule of journalism. Know the meaning of the words you use

Editorial Intelligence - Bringing You the World of Comment and Opinion

Editorial Intelligence has recently published The Power of the Commentariat, (extract - pdf) a report by Julia Hobsbawm and John Lloyd addressing the question: How much do commentators influence politics and public opinion?  I'm not in the habit of dissecting this sort of stuff but I thought I'd take a look at what they had to say. It wasn't a good start:
British commentators usually disclaim much influence. As Jackie Ashley of The Guardian put it in mid-April, 2008: “we columnists are just fleas on the body politic”. Few of those to whom we spoke would allow their or their fellows’ writing more than a modest importance...But it is balanced by another, opposing belief – that is, that journalists in general and commentators in particular follow the injunction apocryphally attributed to the 17th century Quaker George Fox: “speak truth to power”. Many of those to whom we spoke strongly believed that was their mission in life – yet some of these who did also said that they believed that their work had no intrinsic importance. This dichotomy runs through not just the minds of journalists: it is inherent in the nature of the commentators’ trade.
It may well be inherent but it ain't a dichotomy. The two things are not mutually exclusive. Commentators accept that their job is to 'speak to power' and they also accept that the powerful ignores them. It's called pissing in the wind.