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March 18, 2005
Time Is Not On My Side

Someday, I'll have these projects under control. That's the theory, anyhow.

In the meantime, assuming you're desperate for something to read:

Anatomy of a Genocide.

Those new "humvee" vehicles, the ones that look so stupid when you see some underachiever squeezing one down a crowded city street? It's always been my opinion that they looked unstable.

Guess what? Turns out...they just might be. Looks like a few changes are needed before they're a sensible choice for a war zone. (I make no judgment about whether it's training or reengineering.)

Meet the new boss (Alterman on Powell's FCC legacy.)

And more on the blogging-journalism blur (including a link to the Rosen essay many of us read a couple of months ago.)

Not everyone who simply gathers information and disseminates it can be called a journalist. The craft requires skill in finding story ideas and facts, cultivating sources, and then presenting news in a way that serves the public interest.

In a way that serves the public interest. That's a dangerously vague sort of notion, don't you think?

Anyhow. I don't think people are looking at blogging the way I see it.

99.99% of the time, it's not "journalism" at all. It's commentary.

We aren't going to replace "journalists" in spite of those of us patting ourselves on the back for "breaking" stories. Frequently, that "breaking" has consisted of finding previously published stories and giving them wider circulation. Or in pulling together a fuller picture of a story from disparate (published news) sources.

Very few of us have any of the skills needed to be "journalists" but I think there are a notable few of us who might make very good "columnists."

Yes, a lot of bloggers are shrill and rabid and completely without scruples about distorting the facts. Many of us pick and choose among the facts available to make our points. Some of us just make stuff up.

Well, guess what? So do the "columnists" and "pundits" sponsored by the MSM. Every day. When they do it, the backing of the MSM gives those liars a wholly undeserved air of legitimacy.

Believe it or not, a huge chunk of the USofA population really does believe, "it must be true, or they wouldn't let them print it" and they apply that standard to a published columnist as well as to the news pages of a publication, okay?

It's not that half the country are secretly right-wingnuts at all. It's just that they think that if what Limb*ugh is saying on the radio wasn't true, or if what C*ulter is writing in the paper wasn't based on facts, they wouldn't be allowed to continue.

The fact that wingnuts are given legitmacy by being published in the national media gives them the legitimacy to be published in the national media. All of which leads gullible readers to believe the wingnuts must be telling the truth.

"The media" is a business and the "public interest" it serves is that of its stockholders. The media wants to maximize revenue and reeling, writhing, and fainting in coils attracts a lot more readers than calm, measured discussion.

But that's not the subject I started with, is it?

I'm just saying. Journalists? No, I don't think so.

Columnists? A significant percentage of us are already more honest than what's out there.

Argh. I have to get back to work.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:13 AM