Saturday, September 22, 2007

How Did I Miss This?

Lovely day, isn't it? I can't remember how it was on Wednesday, but at least there was some good reading in the Globe. There's nothing like solid journalism reading a column about the blogosphere, written by people that have almost no understanding of it. That's always solid journalism. Just how poignant was the piece in the Globe?

Blogging does have a tendency to elicit the worst in people. How could it not? It's a medium that basically allows everyone to become an instant pundit. Forget research or reasoned analysis or nuance. Forget job qualifications. Heck, forget the byline. In the blog game, it's all about making the sort of witty snap judgments that will draw the most site traffic (read: ad revenue).
Clearly, everyone who blogs is raking in all that sweet, sweet cash. Bloggers must be millionaires, they're so damned snappy and witty. So where's my check? I have ads on my site. Am I just not being snappy and dumbed-down enough? Man, I'm missing out on all that lucrative ad revenue. The good news is, rumor has it, the check is in the mail. Luckily, Google doesn't have a time limit, because it's almost been a full year since I put the ads on my site. Man, I can't wait for that check - all $100 of it. I bet no one earns so much per word - that's gotta be what? .02 cents a blog?

On a less serious note, apparently Charley, Mike and Lynne never, ever research what they write about. There's never, ever any nuance or "reasoned analysis" on their websites. They have no job qualifications because, after all, only Important People should be able to have a dialogue about the direction our country is moving in. Clearly, people working at the Boston Globe know so much more about what's going on than any blogger out there, that's why I never, ever need to write blogs criticizing their work. Right?

There are probably more good bloggers out there than not. It's just so easy for the media elite to publish attacks on bloggers, either harping on the few bad ones out there, or just resting on the always-ethereal idea that bloggers aren't constrained by such things as ethics. Except, of course, when reporters blog. Or when they read blogs. Because if there's anything anyone should know about journalists it's that almost everyone single one of them reads (and occasionally steals, without attribution) from the 'sphere. If only the media realized that every criticism they level against bloggers can be reflected right back on them. Hello, Judy Miller, the War in Iraq and every other idiotic Republican-owned aspect that skipped right past the vaunted 4th-estate snuff test.

But, that's right. Blame it all on the blogosphere. Our analysis can't be trusted. After all, we all told you Joe Lieberman was a lying liar during the election. Meanwhile, the media told the public "no one wanted to get out of Iraq" more than Lieberman. That's some seriously seasoned analysis - lies mixed with cayenne pepper, naivety and butter scotch, to make it all go down more easily. Mmmm. There's a reason why Steven Colbert made up the term 'truthiness' and it has nothing to do with the blogosphere. Sadly, I don't see many columns in the Globe criticizing print journalism lately. Maybe that's why circulation is down?


Mass Marrier said...

That is amusing, particularly from an MSM rep, the Globe, that is so terrible with their own blogs. They can look to the Financial Times to see how the big kids do it right.

Quite a few of us came out of newspapers and other careers in which we check and research. A lot of BMG and Huffington Post blog entries show that.

It must be comforting for the wee brains to lump all blogs into the lowest common denominator, while pretending that every newspaper is top tier and every column in them is thoroughly grounded.

They have already lost this one. Yawn.

Charley on the MTA said...

For the record: Indeed, I have no qualifications, for much of anything, much less for writing on matters of public import. That is very true.

The sad thing is that it's mostly we unqualified ignoramuses that make up the electorate. And that pretty much can't be helped.

Ryan Adams said...

Charley, don't be so humble. You're one of the best bloggers out there, at least in the MA blogosphere. You just prove that you don't need a degree in journalism to both research and come up with sound, often original, analysis. It would be nice if the media could recognize what the blogosphere is good at - advancing the dialogue and getting people to think about what's important. You don't need to be an expert in any field to do that (though, it certainly helps).

David Eisenthal said...

In all fairness to The Globe, the piece in question was an op-ed written by a moderately successful free-lance writer named Steven Almond (, who is not otherwise associated with The Globe.

Almond seems to have some axes to grind with literary bloggers, in particular. He also seems to be someone who sometimes writes with tongue planted in cheek.

Joel Patterson said...

I liked Steve Almond's book "Candy Freak," and I recommend it if you want to learn more about candy and its history in America.

Almond could be right that the Times isn't offering us anything better with the blogs it has.
"The Times, for instance, now offers readers live blogging - in real time! - from presidential debates. Does this instant kibitzing give us any deeper insight into the policies of the candidates in question? Just the opposite: it provides a kind of superficial play-by-play that frames these events as rhetorical boxing matches."
I, for one, have not been impressed by the insights provided by The Caucus at NYT.
Generally, I find independent bloggers like Atrios & Digby & Outraged Liberal provide the insights that newspapers lack.

And this is where Almond falls into a common trap of articles on blogs: He leaves the impression that they are a vast wasteland instead of constructively steering people to good blogs.

Ryan Adams said...

David, here's why that argument doesn't fly: the Globe gets all sorts of different submissions for Op-Eds. Anyone can actually send them one; it's just very hard to get them published. There's usually some kind of a reason on why they'll publish Op-Eds and, I'd contend, pieces such as the one I blogged about are printed because it only helps further the MSM's continual and unwarranted attack on the blogosphere. My evidence? I've seen many, many Op Eds published in the Globe that have attacked blogs. I've never seen one that sings our praises.

Joel, I agree with your point - and I sort of tried to make the same point. Why not write a column that points people out to good blogs out there, instead of attack the entire blogosphere? What service to the latter do, especially compared to how helpful the former would be.

bostonph said...


To be honest, Steve's article is no worse than your periodic "why the MSM sucks" columns. Frankly, both are really, really boring.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Almond was so off base when he said blogging elicits the worst in people. Oh, no. Most bloggers are the most pure of heart. In addition, bloggers have the most crafty and well reasoned analysis. Just ask Ryan. He did after all connect Kerry Healey to the slave trade in his witty campaign commercial for Deval. Instant pundit, indeed.

bostonph said...

I'd forgotten that Steve Almond is the guy who wrote this:

Now look: I’ve been a sports fan my whole life and I’ve rooted for the same three teams all along. I rooted for the Oakland A’s during the darkest days of that franchise, when they routinely lost 90 games per season. I rooted for the Golden State Warriors (the Golden State Warriors, for God’s sake!) through the entire Manute Bol era. I am on intimate terms with the agonies of fandom. What’s more, I’ve traveled this fine country of ours and witnessed the behaviors of numerous sports habitats.

And yes, it’s true that most fans are prone to unconditional complaint.

But I hope you’ll believe me when I observe (with no intention to offend) that I have never encountered a group of fans as whiny, sanctimonious, and unforgiving as Red Sox Nation.

Fuck him. :)

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