Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Anti-Blog Bloggers?

Follow me to revolution.

Accompany me now to an adversary.

An anti-blog blogger.

Ironic, huh?

See, sometimes mainstream

journalists and other agents

start a blog, just so they

can say, "I have a blog myself,

they're no big deal, so what?"

I can see right through this.

Using "I'm also a blogger"

as a way to get real bloggers

to listen to their warped ideas,

their glorification of the almost

entirely falsified and biased MSM.

Mainstream Media is scared.

They fear blogs.

Watch how they attack them.

I did a search on "blogs need to be more".

Got about 20 results for that exact phrase.

That's how I stumbled upon a site

called "Spiked".

Seems to be online transcripts of lectures.

I saw someone "enviro-sci" from
Tech Central Station on a panel.

Look at this now.

The last portion of an article

of January 14, 2003

"Gone to the Blogs"

by Brendan O'Neill.


If you're taken in by any of his arguments against bloggers, you are indeed an inexperienced or pseudo blogger. We bloggers just laugh at these National Enquirer type trash attacks on us and our beloved blogosphere.

Our beloved blogosphere...sphere of post-MSM influence.


On the web, there is a white noise of personal prejudice

This kind of blogging is little more than a subjective spouting match, where bloggers spill forth their views on everything, anything and sometimes nothing. But there is more to journalism than instant reaction and response. Good journalism involves rising above your immediate concerns, weighing up the facts, and attempting to say something more measured and insightful - sometimes even truthful and profound.

Blogging creates a white noise of personal prejudice, akin to students arguing in a bar rather than experts saying anything striking. I haven't got a problem with pub-style debates about the issues of the day - but journalism it isn't.

On my weblog, for example, I have a recurring item called 'What the f[---]…?' - for when something so bizarre happens, or when a public figure says something so ridiculous, that there is little more to say in response than 'What the f[---]…?'

President Bush says Saddam Hussein got al-Qaeda to bomb Bali: what the f[---]? Jimmy Carter wins the Nobel Prize for Peace: what the f[---]? Et cetera…

But this isn't journalism - it's a blogger's rant.

If I were to write a journalistic piece about Bush's obsession with a link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda it would have to say more than 'What the f[---]…?'

And if bloggers fancy themselves as cutting-edge 'new journalists' giving the old media a run for its money, they'll have to do more than post quickfire comments in response to already published material or breaking news or another blogger's comments about another blogger's comments.

Perhaps they could start by generating some new content.

The rise of blogging on the web, and the way in which it has been hailed as a media revolution not only by bloggers but also by some newspapers, reflects recent shifts within journalism itself.

In the traditional media, everywhere from the papers to the TV, there has been a rise in personal opinions and emotionally responsive journalism over objectivity and hard-hitting investigation.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with opinion journalism, especially if the journalist has got something to say. But too often today, much opinion writing seems to be driven more by feelings and emotions than by insight or having a distinct argument to put forward.

It is unsurprising, then, that similar trends are impacting on online journalism.

And the thing about the web is that, even more than newspapers and TV, it lends itself to the expression of personal opinion and prejudice.

The ease and speed with which anyone can publish their views on the web is no doubt a potentially positive development, but it can lead to an explosion of opinion that ends up saying very little.

To describe this free-for-all expression/commenting/ranting as a journalistic revolution is disingenuous. As Clint Eastwood once said, 'Opinions are like assholes - everybody has one'.

A final claim made by bloggers is that they can offer radically more content than we will find in the word-counted articles subbed and squashed into a newspaper or magazine. 'We can publish everything online', says one blogger: 'transcripts, research material, every detail. Newspapers publish, what? 800 words?'

Many bloggers celebrate the absence of editors

To this end, Sheila Lennon, a well-known American blogger, recently published on her blog the entire transcript of an interview that she gave to the New York Times. The NYT interviewed Lennon about the blogging phenomenon, but only used one sentence from her in the published article.

Lennon said the Times 'asked fine questions, and I didn't wince when I read my answers', but still she felt the urge to post the entire interview on her own blog. 'It seemed natural for me to publish the "rest of the story" online for readers who might be interested.' (15)

All of which is fine - except this reproduction of source material was then presented as some kind of radical act.

According to the American Journalism Review: 'Not only had Lennon revealed the raw material of a story; she'd empowered herself as a citizen publisher and an interviewee.'

The Review claimed that by publishing the interview transcript, Lennon had created a 'really revolutionary scenario', where ' anyone can set up a virtual press in order to contribute to the reporting process, talk back to a journalist or set the record straight' (16).

The 'Lennon incident' (as some now refer to it…) showed the benefits of publishing on the web - and also how such benefits get blown out of proportion.

One of the most transformative things about web publishing, as distinct from print publishing, is that you can provide 'extra material'.

Through hyperlinks, further reading suggestions and footnotes, articles on the web can become gateways to a wealth of material.

Some blogs do this very well, providing links to articles you might otherwise not have found - and you only have to browse the BBC News website to see the promise of such publishing.

But to describe this as a new form of journalism, as 'putting journalism's house in order', is bizarre.

Indeed, Sheila Lennon's self-publication of her interview transcript ended up reminding me what journalists are for.

There was some interesting stuff in the transcript, but generally it was long, rambling and boring in parts - as transcripts tend to be.

By contrast, the final New York Times article, which incorporated a tiny part of the interview, was measured, concise and a good read.

It might feel 'empowering' to publish transcripts and other 'behind the scenes' material - but a professional journalist's job is to take all that material, consider it, and turn it into something more profound.

That's why editors exist - to ensure that published material is readable and clear.

No doubt some writers would like to have their every word published, but editors put economy and clarity before writer overload.

Indeed, some modern newspapers and book publishers could do with harder editors.

The blogosphere, by contrast, not only lacks editors, it celebrates their absence. It claims that this lack of quality control gives the blogosphere a special freedom.

As a result, the bloggers' 'radical act' of providing raw material as a way of challenging traditional journalists' stranglehold over information often shows up just how important traditional journalists, and editors, are.


Ha ha ha ha ha.

Pathetic attempt to attack us.

Silly, vain, and, like the MSM

full of distortions and fear.

If you find yourself confused by any of these ridiculous assertions, start reading more of Vaspers the Grate, or go off to read the blogs listed in my sidebar blogroll. Most of them will set you straight.

Blogging is Revolutionary, as we all know.

Everyone knows blog-bashing is doomed.

It's a universal absolute truth

that blogs are the

World Conquerors of Communication.

During the Iraq elections,

it was the blogs that carried

moment by moment, objective

coverage, while the MSM slept!

Notice his saying that sometimes

the exalted idiotic MSM journalism

will "say something more
measured and insightful

- sometimes even truthful and profound."

I love it:

"sometimes even truthful."

Imagine that!

Truthful, even...sometimes, maybe.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate



MARYBETH said...

(2). Blogger.com, which provides idiot-proof software for setting up your own weblog, claims that 1000 blogs are created on its site every day (3).


steven edward streight said...

Blogger is NOT idiot proof, or at least, it's not genius proof.

I, not an idiot, usually, and rumored to be verging on genius, rarely, was quite able to accidentally, okay, idiotically, lose 80% of my Blog Core Values blog template, apparently by closing out, or losing dialup connection, or something like that, whilst fiddling around with the template code.

So, even us smart folk, if I be such, and there's no, or not many, reasons to believe the contrary, can make mistakes and screw things up really bad.

Catastrophic error, as web usability analysts call it, can occur in Blogger.

One could even accidentally, drunkenly, or sleepily, or tiredly, Delete This Blog. And other things could happen.

MSM: typical distortions.

"idiot proof" meaning, to him, that idiots are attracted to blogging.

Yet he is a blogger, but a Pseudo Blogger.