Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I hate navel-gazing about blogging, but this, referencing this, got me thinking about the whole "the bloggers are ruining the news!" trope you read a few years back. It's still out there, because reporters believe, based only on the fact that there are public affairs bloggers, that we are all a bunch of wannabe journalists. Also, as Duncan points out repeatedly, some nationally-recognized journalists pretend to an ethical standard they simply don't hold.

For myself, I do not desire to be a journalist. I enjoy writing about the things that interest me, and I try to do so with integrity - being as factual as possible, making sure that my position is clear and separate from whatever the facts of a given instance may be - if for no other reason than that is the one currency any writer trades in. You lose that, you might as well fold up your tent and go home.

The caricature of the loner sitting around in his or her jammies, getting Cheetos powder on the keyboard as they vent their frustrations to the world is not only old, it is belied by the sheer welter and diversity of blogs. This caricature holds, however, because those who criticize blogging per blogging tend to be the same folks who believe we are nothing more or less than frustrated journalists, yearning for respectability. Like all writers, we yearn for an audience, to be sure; professional recognition, however, is a wholly different matter. I've resigned myself to a small audience if for no other reason than it seems all I can attract. I'd rather do things my own way than compromise in order to get higher traffic.

So, I think the adjective (or perhaps noun?) "numbnut" just doesn't fit anymore, if it ever did. There are such out there, to be sure, sending barely readable screeds to the universe to puzzle over. Yet, there are also many, many excellent places where there is the thoughtful expression of opinion balanced with a serious dedication to the facts of the matter. The numbnuts, I believe, are the folks who believe having a blog is a license to trade in whatever crap crosses their path.

Kind of like CBS News.

Virtual Tin Cup

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