To treat journalists like mini-publishers is a slippery slope. For all of blogging's editorial opportunities -- the freedom to innovate or the chance to collapse the normally endless magazine response to timely issues -- the journalists are no longer simply doing their job.
When the mission is tied -- directly, through the incentive of increased financial compensation -- to maximizing traffic, the blogger is as much a marketer as they are a journalist.
Exactly how does Dan think it works now? Does he think that media outlets hire writers, and then just tell them to run off and "be creative"? Yeah, right. All this does is bring the rating system closer to the top. Ever wonder why newspapers add and drop op-ed authors, or comic strips, or sportswriters? Here's a huge hint for Dan - it's related to the eyeballs (i.e., traffic) they bring in. The advertisers are funny that way - they seem to care. I'm not sure what idealized world Dan lives in, but perhaps he could report on what color the sky is over there.