ProJo’s Broad anti-Blog Brush

In “The blogosphere bog,” the ProJo editors use the recent controversy about Katie Couric’s ghostwritten blog as a jumping off point to damn the entire ‘sphere. Much of what they say is true:

[T]he Internet, with its fluidity, lack of sourcing, misleading sourcing, problematic (or nonexistent) dating and vulnerability to manipulation is a veritable Great Dismal Swamp of error, lies and self-promotion that make the National Inquirer read like a corporate-earnings page in The Wall Street Journal.
That may be one reason why as all the world threatens to get “wired,” the knowledge quotient of mankind can’t outrun the misinformation supply. Anyway, as for blogs, don’t think that they’re necessarily written by whoever’s name runs over them.

First, I’ll set aside the irony that the negative example supplied is that of an MSM “professional” journalist behaving badly–not an amateur blogger or website. Their argument may have been more effective if they would have headed over to Wikipedia looking for bad entries.
Nonetheless, why the “a few bad apples ruin the whole bushel” approach by the editors?
Apparently, it’s because they want to make sure that we remember that “the bulk of news still comes from…those dusty old things called newspapers.” That’s debatable. Their own allusion to Couric serves to bring TV into the picture as a hefty source of the “news.” The Internet, too–liveblogging and Internet-only news sources such as Drudge, Breitbart and PajamasMedia–deliver original and usually accurate content. Yes, there is a lot of chaff out there on the Internet and in the blogosphere, but not all are alike. Just like, to use the ProJo equation, the ProJo doesn’t equal STAR.
Look, most blogs do what we at Anchor Rising do–use MSM content as a conversation starter. So, yes, bloggers do need “the papers”–and by extension the rest of the MSM like the ProJo or (ahem) CBS–to provide us with content for our insightful commentary. [Tangentially, I wonder how many newspapers have enjoyed an increase in (albeit non-paying) readership thanks to inbound links from blogs?] Anyway, the newspaper–well, their online editions–are important to us bloggers. That is why I’ve made the point in the past that we need a strong ProJo for the overall health of the news business in this market.
Maybe they should focus a little more on their own content and reportage and less on taking over-broad potshots at us amateurs toiling in the wilds of the ‘sphere.
And by the way, ProJo, thanks for the content that enabled another blog post.

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16 years ago

Ha! Well done.

16 years ago

A well thought out analysis, as usual.
Just because Bill Moyers has an occassional offbeat show on PBS or Michael Moore makes silly pseudo-documentaries, doesn’t make the media of television and movies are by default “bad” or suspect, nor does it mean that I should stop watching all television or movies.
Like anything else, blogs — over time — just like the [old] “mainstream media,” develop reputations, either for honestly and integrity or for non-originality and stupidity (as well as various other adjectives). For instance (warning: shameless plug ahead), Anchor Rising has developed an excellent reputation for the quality of the writing and for the conservative philosophies which are so thoughtfully expounded upon.
In regard to your observation, “[Tangentially, I wonder how many newspapers have enjoyed an increase in (albeit non-paying) readership thanks to inbound links from blogs?]”, don’t forget, that even though we [the readers] who read the online edition for “free,” (I also receive the paper edition … can’t line a birdcage with a computer screen) the Projo is still being paid plenty by advertisers for all of those ads whcih are all over their website. The reason why advertisers pay for the ads is that they know that there are plenty of people utilizing their website who will be seeing them. Therefore, it is to the Projo’s benefit that blogs and other media provide links to their content.

16 years ago

Blogs are often run by amateurs, so they can’t be as accurate those run by professionals.
Take 60 Minutes. We’d never have known about Bush’s attempt to avoid National Guard service if there were no professionals like Dan Rather around to uncover those ‘secret memos’.
Or when the New York Times, CNN, CBS and ABC all reported just before the 2004 presidential election on the ‘scandal’ that tons of explosives were missing in Iraq. 60 Minutes was set to run a segment on it two days before the election.
Forget that the entire story was fabricated from IAEA Director Mohammed El Baradei whom the US was trying to remove. The important thing is the the nation’s major news outlets brought us the story.
To the Projo: look, everyone knows there is misinformation on the Internet, but bloggers and readers don’t deny that. It’s understood that ndividuals need to do their own research and analysis.
It’s far more dangerous to have a medium where you tell readers that you always reporting unbiased factually correct information when in fact that information is sometimes biased and incorrect.

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