Is the blogosphere where the best of journalistic standards reside? No. Probably the worst—and the reason I was turned off blogs in the early 2000s: the sort of gutter-press stuff that fuels weekly trash magazines, hearsay, gossip, and that principle of guilty until proved innocent. Over the last two months, I have seen a lot of this, once attacking a friend who expressed an opinion, and, more recently, attacking the newly crowned Miss Universe New Zealand. I even had an opinion piece carried on a news site as an article without my express permission last week.
I can expect that the Miss Universe Organization will treat Laural Barrett’s negative press from the foreign media as a simple nullity, and, as for my friend Jennifer Siebel, the mainstream media and blogosphere have moved on to newer targets. Even the person who said I could not spell because I used the word defence seems to have moved on (oh, that is what constitutes an ‘argument’ from this class of person). I believe the next story may be whether David Hicks was the father of Anna Nicole’s baby, or whatever tickles this group’s fancy as they indulge in the trough.
I make these comments after reading Kristine Lowe’s blog from her base in Oslo (referred by Media Culpa). Kristine writes how bloggers interviewed by other media outlets now blog their full quotes, the context and their position, because they are afraid of being misquoted and a misjudgement made by readers.
I don’t blame them. In 2007, we expect more transparency, yet journalistic standards seem to be dropping so that blogs are one way for some to set the record straight.
But why are these bloggers even in defence mode? Why do some of us, who express a valid opinion, have to counter the presumption of guilt that some media outlets, and some bloggers, insist on forcing on us?
While I have always supported the idea of free speech for all, it is clear that our education system needs to improve. Civility is absent in so many blogs; arguments are regularly ignored in favour of personal attacks (the comments during the week my friend Jennifer was attacked are indicative). I remember having left high school with suitable skills; today, I have to wonder.
Tomorrow’s Schools has done its duty in New Zealand. (Damn, I agree with the Greens again. That’s three times in the last eight months.) I do not even know what unit standards are. I just know that when I was at school, I passed or I failed, and I was given a notion of personal responsibility and a sense of being part of a collective. Perfect skills, one would think, for a wired virtual world. So why do I not see much of that, short of the helpful types on helpdesk forums and open-source bofﬁns who truly give of themselves? Will the geek inherit the earth, as has been predicted?
Asking for a reader to hold a subject with some respect, giving one the beneﬁt of the doubt, is not a big ask. If that was the case, then some of the trash magazines would never sell, nor would the tabloids. Let’s face it: some of the media outlets rely on these worst traits of human nature.
And we would do well to notice it when we are suckered in to their worlds, and steer ourselves from being taken in. They may sell an extra copy or two through the manufacture of scandal, but we can counter it by retaining an independent mind.
I hope that bloggers, and others, won’t need to continually defend themselves against those unable to think—yet are able to scream at the top of their lungs on blogs and forums, and, God help us, in the mainstream media. The world does not seem to be heading toward that ideal though. In the words of the old Tony Christie song ‘Avenues and Alleyways’:
Everybody’s wheeling, everybody's stealing,
All the low are living a high.
Every city’s got ’em:
Can we ever stop ’em?
Some of us are gonna try.
Some of us have the task to open others’ eyes.
I thought I was in a personal version of The Persuaders, but maybe I am in The Protectors. Posted by Jack Yan, 10:03
In regards to bloggers being among some of the worst in regards to attacks, they are yet, they are also probably among some of the best for protecting various people (yours included in that group). The blogosphere has both the best and worst of standards and reporting. I believe it is representative of society as a whole and so shows the both the bad and the good.
Regarding journalistic standards, those have been going down for some time. I believe newspaper now have their articles written for a 5th or 6th grade reader which is really bad. They also keep it short because of the supposed short attention span of their readers. One of the nice things about newspaper articles was they used to cover what they reported on in greater depth than tv news.
One nice thing of sorts about the blogosphere is their pretty blatant about where their bias lies. You can tell pretty quick from what they post what they believe in and support. The so-called "mainstream media" isn't nearly so honest. They continue to argue their reporting is objective when it isn't. Two recent examples I've seen were with the New York Times reporting of a pension scandal in New Jersey and Senator Dianne Feinstein using her political influence to direct contracts to her husband's company. In the case of the pension scandal, the NYT didn't make any mention of the fact that the mess happened under FOUR Democrat governors. Do you think they would've been so shy if it had happened under Republican governors? In the case of the Feinstein scandal, there has been very little mentioned in the media about what she did. Would they have been so reluctant to report it if it had been a Republican senator?
In regards to some of the garbage the media reports, the media is a business and they'll report what they think will generate business. I read an article on Lance Armstrong who complained about the media failing to report the real threats to people vice the sensational ones. A person is in greater danger of dying of cancer vice dying in a plane crash. Which do you think gets more coverage in the media? The media hyped bird flu as the disease that was going to kill thousands in the U.S. Do you know how many have died in the U.S. from bird flu so far? Zero. Yet, we heard tons about bird flu. Why? Because it sold papers and caused the number of viewers to go up on the networks.
For a long time, people accepted what the media said as gospel. One of the good things without a doubt about the blogosphere is that it has helped change this. The blogosphere has exposed their biased and poor reporting. The blogosphere also has poor reporting and anything you read on the blogosphere should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, they've become another source of information where people can find out more of what is going on, not just what the media wants us to know.
I personally believe the blogosphere to be a good thing. Yes, it does have some really bad sites where people really slime others like New Zealand's new Miss New Zealand but, it also has sites like yours that expose such sites for their trash they are. Your site and many others try to maintain a high standard of truthful and accurate reporting. It is such sites that make the blogosphere so valuable.
Thank you, Ron, for your vote of conﬁdence. I like to think I am doing something in leaving the world in a better state than in which I found it—at least in the little corner I call my own.Post a Comment
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