Thursday, November 17, 2005

Too Smart to Blog, Too Dumb to Explain Why
Realizing full well that if you clicked the link on last night's post and actually listened to "Bush Was Right" by the Right Brothers (soon to be burning up the charts on MTV, and if not, then MTV is biased against conservatives), you may not be ready for something else that's so stupid it will make you beat your head against the table--but here goes.

Via the News Blog, check this transcript of an NPR commentary in which Amy Alexander, self-described "author and media critic," explains why Blogs Are (Mostly) Bad. Alexander complains that because blogs don't have editors, they're contributing to the problem of Americans being unable to tell the difference between hard news and opinion. Plus bloggers write about trivia too much.

It's hard to believe that there are so many people (especially among the ranks of "media critics") who are still so goddamn dumb about blogs. Most of us who live in the blogosphere on a regular basis understand that blogs are not stone tablets engraved with Truth and handed down from the mountaintop. We make decisions every day about which blogs and bloggers to trust, and which not to--and we do it without an editor holding our hand. We know what's news and what's commentary--and we are capable of separating the two, even when they appear within the same blog, or blog post. Amy admits to doing it herself with the few blogs she deigns to read--so why aren't the rest of us permitted the same privilege? Good citizens of a democracy are supposed to be smart enough to tell the difference between truth and lies, between analysis and spin. Seems to me a half-savvy blog reader is at least as able to tell shinola from the other stuff as the editors at the New York Times (who printed Judith Miller's Chalabi-fueled Iraq propaganda), or the editors at the Washington Post (who swallowed the administration's discredited case for war and pushed it on their editorial page) or the editors at the various broadcast networks (insert your own example of egregious dumbassitude here).

And as for Amy's criticism of the minutiae that some bloggers indulge in, Steve Gilliard has it right: if you don't like it, don't read those posts, or those bloggers. I skip posts all the time, even on blogs I rely on, because I'm not interested--and I'll bet you skip posts on this very blog sometimes, too. It's no more offensive to the average blogger than skipping over a story in the newspaper should be to the editors of the paper--or aren't we permitted to do skip newspaper stories anymore? Goodness knows, each story has been selected by a highly trained professional editor, and they're the only people in America fit to decide what matters and what doesn't.

What a load.

Recommended Reading: You may have seen news stories yesterday and today talking about a Patriot Act reauthorization "compromise" that's supposed to fix some of the more egregious abuses in the original act, and how the compromise supposedly curbs the power of the FBI. Well, not so fast there, Potential Terror Suspect. The compromise bill being voted on this week actually retains most of the worst abuses, and adds a few more new ones for fun. So take a minute to click here, find the Washington phone number of your representative or senator, and call their office to tell them to vote against it. It's important to call, unless your senator is Russ Feingold--anybody else just might vote for the damn thing.

And then, treat yourself to a painful chuckle of recognition courtesy of Tom the Dancing Bug. And at The Hits Just Keep On Comin': Bad Liver and a Broken Heart.

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