Lately there has been a lot of tension between Buddhist magazines and the online Buddhist community. These magazines sadly are missing the point behind the rise of the Buddhoblogosphere. It being a representation of how popular Buddhism is becoming in America but more importantly with how it's becoming popular with others besides the traditional American Buddhist core -- rich, white academics on the two coasts.
And it's popular not because we proselytize but because people investigate it and find it helps them. They are missing this bigger picture that America is quite well suited for the reason and rationality of Buddhism. Americans are trained in the scientific method. So it is refreshing to many of us to find a way of life (Buddhism) that is not only o.k. with questioning authority and the truthfulness of things -- It encourages it (as is seen in the Kalama Sutra), which I see becoming one of the root sutras/suttas for many American Buddhists. However, many (not all) in the American Buddhist establishment do NOT like the spirit of the Kalama Sutra when it involves them. They do NOT like to be questioned, debated or challenged.
A lot of times the articles printed in these magazines are deeply cerebral dissections of esoteric sutras and discussions around issues that rarely touch the average Buddhist practitioner. And while I actually do like digging through sutras/suttas, I'm using it as an example to show that many of these magazines aren't getting the average man's point of view on Buddhist practice. I'm not saying one way of learning is better than another but I just wish that the elitists didn't look down their nose at those of us who respond well to online interactions. It has helped a lot of people and broadened Buddhism a great deal. Is it perfect? Of course not but it deserves more respect than it is sometimes given.
Buddhist blogs tend to be (not always) more approachable and easier to relate to as we discuss how the Dharma affects our direct, day-to-day lives. We might not always have the glossy pictures, so-called experts and titles before and after our names but we live in the real world where we don't have time on our hands to spend hours and hours at the temple or sangha (if we so lucky as to have one near-by in the first place). We are just average people like most people in this world including those looking into Buddhism for the first time. A recent article wrote that seeing the Buddhist community discuss their disagreements isn't flattering and might turn away practitioners. I think that's disingenuous at best but at worse betrays a desire to scrub Buddhism of the "dirty peasants" that are apart of Buddhism as much as peaceful, smiling monks.
The "Question Authority" picture is in part in response to the idea espoused by some in Buddhists circles that we Buddhists are to just sit down and shut up and follow our "leaders" regardless of what they say. This is called the, "Argument from authority logical fallacy" which says, "Source 'A' says, 'p'. Source A is authoritative. Therefore, 'p' is true." This is a fallacy because the truth or falsity of the claim is not necessarily related to the personal qualities of the claimant, and because the premises can be true, and the conclusion false (an authoritative claim can turn out to be false).