aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Bloggers are not journalists II
From the April issue of The American Prospect, Blogged Down:
“Are bloggers journalists?” is a question that’s been kicking around for a few years, and both bloggers and journalists answer it by saying no. Journalists insist on the distinction because most bloggers don’t do original reporting or double-check information for its accuracy. Bloggers, for their part, often see themselves as polemicists and activists and chafe at being held to journalistic standards.
Yeh, that’s me.
But unlike traditional news outlets, right-wing blogs openly shill, fund raise, plot, and organize massive activist campaigns on behalf of partisan institutions and constituencies; they also increasingly provide cover for professional operatives to conduct traditional politics by other means—including campaigning against the established media. And instead of taking these bloggers for the political activists they are, all too often the established press has accepted their claims of being a new form of journalism. This will have to change—or it will prove serious journalism’s undoing.
So do we want a new standard for bloggers as journalists? Or do those providing “cover for professional operatives to conduct traditional politics by other means” deserve all the legal protections that the professional press does? I don’t think so.
Nothing in the article that right-wing bloggers are doing is illegal; I’m sure they even consider it ethical. The article also points out it’s nothing new. And that the “Jeff Gannon” story (detailed from start to finish) was an effective left wing blog action, if with significant differences:
First, whereas the conservative bloggers were out to destroy journalists with distinguished careers who’d made serious missteps, the liberal bloggers on Gannon’s trail were seeking to expose an out-and-out fraud. Second, while some of the conservative bloggers going after Jordan and Rather were mistaken for regular citizens by the mainstream media, the liberal bloggers were very much out in the open.
Bottom line, I think we should get First Amendment protection, but as bloggers and citizens. Not as journalists.
SEE ALSO: MyDD, Bloggers are not journalists.
UPDATE: I’m sooo late to this. Bloggers vs. Journalists is Over.
Lower the drinking age
Morning Edition had a great story this morning on a Maine college that’s trying to instill healthy drinking habits in its drinking age students by allowing those who are over 21 to drink wine and beer with dinner in campus dining halls. I’m all for it. Every college knows the binge drinker/teetotaler dichotomy; there the idea is to model healthy drinking behavior.
That sent me back looking for this September 2004 NYTimes Op Ed piece by John M. McCardell Jr., president emeritus of Middlebury College. He wrote the piece upon retirement, when, as “a less vulnerable member of the faculty once more, I dare to unburden myself of a few observations.”
To lawmakers: the 21-year-old drinking age is bad social policy and terrible law. It is astonishing that college students have thus far acquiesced in so egregious an abridgment of the age of majority. Unfortunately, this acquiescence has taken the form of binge drinking. Campuses have become, depending on the enthusiasm of local law enforcement, either arms of the law or havens from the law.
Neither state is desirable. State legislators, many of whom will admit the law is bad, are held hostage by the denial of federal highway funds if they reduce the drinking age. Our latter-day prohibitionists have driven drinking behind closed doors and underground. This is the hard lesson of prohibition that each generation must relearn. No college president will say that drinking has become less of a problem in the years since the age was raised. Would we expect a student who has been denied access to oil paint to graduate with an ability to paint a portrait in oil? Colleges should be given the chance to educate students, who in all other respects are adults, in the appropriate use of alcohol, within campus boundaries and out in the open.
And please - hold your fire about drunken driving. I am a charter member of Presidents Against Drunk Driving. This has nothing to do with drunken driving. If it did, we’d raise the driving age to 21. That would surely solve the problem.
I agree with his observations on tenure and student/faculty ratios too!
No more Circuits
The New York Times is ending the Circuits section. “We intend to continue the great journalism that section has pioneered, but no longer as a weekly stand-alone section.”
Though sometimes it seemed little more than an excuse to attract technology advertising, I am a fan and regular reader. The “consumer-friendly new features” of the coming “mid-week cousin of Sunday Styles, focused on fashion, fitness, beauty, smart shopping and lifestyles” is not likely to interest me much.
“We’re also studying plans publish Circuits as a special section on a regular basis.”