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CBS Sees no Journalism in Blogs 455

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-of-course-they-aren't-journalists dept.
hende_jman writes "CBS News online has an article comparing some politics-oriented blogs to the kind of stuff they used to run in the author's school newspaper. It's an interesting read that has some valid critiques of the format as far as journalistic integrity is concerned (not that CBS hasn't been without its problems)."
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CBS Sees no Journalism in Blogs

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  • by garcia (6573) * on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:18PM (#10759182) Homepage
    Kerry was "in striking distance" in Florida and Ohio, said the Drudge Report.

    And last election FoxNews claimed victory for Bush well before it was officially called. All media outlets have their own biases that they use daily on a large cross-section of stories. Hell, some news stations go so far as to create near pandemonium out of stories like "Are our college students on death row in their dorm rooms?" when they are comparing jail cell fires to dorms?

    Big plans and big claims are to be expected from folks - pajama-clad or not - who are dabbling with new technology and new modalities of public expression.

    Coming from someone writing for the big dogs I can honestly say I'm not surprised. What the hell else was he going to say? "Oh, the mainstream media is fucking dead. The Internet will take over as the true purveyor of news? Yeah, that would have been printed...

    You did not see any of the networks or the AP put out misleading reports of a Kerry lead nationally - or in the battleground states of Florida or Ohio. The editors, producers and executives who run these MSM organizations, in typical responsible, dinosaur fashion, know it would be wrong to do so.

    From the little bit of flipping I did between the Daily Show, FoxNews, and NBC I was seeing quite a bit more information coming earlier from FoxNews about which states Bush had won and what they were projecting... I didn't see that so much from NBC and I certainly didn't see it on the Daily Show ;-) I guess it could have been the same with any other channel and it might have just been their methods/algorithms but take it for what it's worth.

    His constant comparison of the blogs to his school newspaper is rather annoying and honestly quite childish. Perhaps we should heed his words and pretty much ignore what we see on the Internet from the "media outlets". If he really wanted me to listen to what he said he should have done some quote for quote comparisons between the blogs and traditional media outlet's stories and shown where exactly the blogs were lacking. Maybe that would have even helped the blogs.

    Making mention of Drudge as your main point is really sad. Drudge has a lot of funny stuff but you have to take most of it at face value. I certainly don't read it often mostly because it's fluff and bullshit. Perhaps this guy should have done some googling and found some valid political blog sites and then done his comparison.

    That's my worthless .02
    • And last election FoxNews claimed victory for Bush well before it was officially called. All media outlets have their own biases that they use daily on a large cross-section of stories.

      If you're referring to 2000 Fox wasn't the first to call it. THat's another F911 fabrication.

      As far as this article goes, the author sites Slate as a good and reliable site. He also, strangely, doesn't mention littlegreenfootballs.com or powerlineblog.com, both of which were very intrumental is breaking the CBS document sc
      • by ZeroConcept (196261) on Monday November 08, 2004 @06:07PM (#10759879)

        If you're referring to 2000 Fox wasn't the first to call it. THat's another F911 fabrication.

        Care to backup your statement? Moore does provide some information [michaelmoore.com] on his assertion.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          One of many sites de-bunking F911...
          http://www.davekopel.com/Terror/Fiftysix- Deceits-i n-Fahrenheit-911.htm
          • by theLOUDroom (556455) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @08:29AM (#10764714)
            One of many sites de-bunking F911... http://www.davekopel.com/Terror/Fiftysix-Deceits-i n-Fahrenheit-911.htm

            Except that site doesn't provide any evidence proving that Fox was not the first to call it.

            Geez first some guy gets to +5 insightful with absolutely NO evidence to back up his claim. Them a bunch of us provide links showing that he was indeed "making shit up".

            Now an AC posts a link for an obviously biased site, that DOESN'T EVEN ADDRESS THE ISSUE AT HAND. That site provides no evidence supporting the claim that Fox was not the first to call it. As a matter of fact, it actually supports the claim:

            Over four hours later, at 2:16 a.m., Fox projected Bush as the Florida winner, as did all the other networks by 2:20 a.m.

        • He stated: If you're referring to 2000 Fox wasn't the first to call it. THat's another F911 fabrication.

          Moore's website confirms that Fox was NOT the first news site to call the election. CBS called it first, in favor of Gore. When Fox did finally call the election it was with more up to date data and for Bush. The Fahrenheit 911 fabrication he refers to is the implication that Fox somehow changed the outcome of the election by calling it in favor of Bush. The Fox release had *better data* than the CBS re
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:32PM (#10759383)
      Actually FOX called it for GORE. In fact on election night FOX called it for Gore AFTER other networks did. It was only after 2 am that FOX recinded that and called it for Bush. Please get your facts from someplace other than M. Moore.
    • In fairness, the problem with last election was that CBS,NBC, and ABC all called Florida for Gore before it was official. If you were referring to this election, I thought that, accross the board, the networks were very very conservative in their judgement. Meaning that they were very very careful about giving states to one candidate or another before the official counts were in. In fact, I think that they were a little too careful in some cases.
    • Mr. CBS is right! The mainstream media is owned by Knight Ridder and Rupert Murdoch, and is primarily interested in furthering its political agenda - namely the pursuit of capital at the expense of the truth. They publish corporate advertising and parade it as the truth.

      As for his insinuation that bloggers wear pajamas, well, we have no proof that mr. talking head is even wearing any pants. (and to quote john stewart, if he is, they ARE ON FIRE! =)

      Novus Ordo Seculorum
    • by webplummer (685646) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:50PM (#10759649) Homepage
      How about: "Blogs see no real journalism in So Called Liberal Media"
  • Tell me about it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:18PM (#10759183)
    I read this story [slashdot.org] yesterday, and it turned out the editor's speculation was wrong [slashdot.org]! When they issued a "retraction" they didn't apologize, and that editor added some political spin to it!
    • by bludstone (103539) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:28PM (#10759337)
      Luckily the same site has a massive forum in which people can comment, discuss, and provide feedback on the content, as it is released.

      Does CBS, or any of the majors do this?
    • by Sunnan (466558) <sunnan@handgranat.org> on Monday November 08, 2004 @07:16PM (#10760716) Homepage Journal
      It speaks volumes for /. (and blogs and web media in general) that they display their retractions so prominently, and in the same space as the original news. You won't see the same in print or on tv.

      Personally, I read /. a couple of times a day (often via Straw), and I saw the retraction at the same time I saw the story.
    • Nothing new. Now at least 99.999999999% of comments on /. are either directly related to American Politics or have some political message in the sig. The rest are advertising free ipods. Something like 60% of stories are politically motivated, another 20% or so are adverts. I think we need slashdot.us, slashdot.ca, slashdot.de, slashdot.jp, slashdot.kr, slashdot.fi, slashdot.uk, slashdot.biz (for the adverts), slashdot.fr, slashdot.pl, and slashdot.ru. Have I missed any of our major reader groups? Sla
  • Journalism is dead (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:18PM (#10759187)
    The mainstream media has a terrible credibility problem. This is why blogs are so popular these days. If no one has any credibility anyway, you might as well listen to the new guys.
    • by gUmbi (95629) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:29PM (#10759348)

      The mainstream media has a terrible credibility problem. This is why blogs are so popular these days. If no one has any credibility anyway, you might as well listen to the new guys.


      What's that saying again? 'In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king?'
    • blogs popular?

      They may be popular with people who want to blog, but seriously, does anyone who does not themselves blog actually *read* blogs?

      (Judging by the blogs I've tried to read in the past, they are the very *acme* of lameness).

    • by SuperRob (31516) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:41PM (#10759510) Homepage
      The problem here is that CBS is confusing WRITING with JOURNALISM. NO surprise, since a lot of others are doing it as well. I've written for many gaming websites, as well as student magazines, and I have always refrained from ever calling myself a journalist. Quite frankly, I think that the only time writing can ever be called journalism is when you are writing about a first-hand experience.

      That said, with so much of news becoming little more than opinion and thin analysis, writing is usually preferrable, just because the bias and editorializing is clear and expected. Journalism should be fair and unbiased, and rarely is.

      That said, I think blogs are becoming the "new journalism", people writing from their own experiences and sharing that knowledge with others. Blogging is an exchange of ideas, debate in it's truest form. That something that Journalism stopped doing right around the time that the corporations bought up all of the media.
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:49PM (#10759635)
      > Journalism is dead (Score:5, Insightful)

      Close, but not quite:

      In the mainstream, journalism isn't dead, but reporting's been pushing up the daisies since the 70s.

      What CBS does is "Journalism". Figure out what sort of story you want to tell, then send a guy out with a camera (or dig up some stock footage) who can come up with the iamges to tell the story.

      Terrorist? Freedom fighter? No problem, we'll find someone to argue both points. Dirtball spammer? Ethikul small bidnidman and oppressed ontreprenooer? All the same to us! Safe car? Time bomb? We've spent a lot of money on this story so far, and we're not gonna throw it away, so let's rig the test to make sure it blows up real good! Obvious Microsoft Word forgery? Story's what we want it to be no matter how obvious the forgery is? No problem, we'll pay off a handwriting expert who's not even taken seriously in his own loopy field, and a couple of Democrat partisans to distract you from the real issue and to repatedly drub it into your silly little minds that our story is true, even though all the evidence we've brought before you is actually pure, Grade-D bullshit.

      CBS: All journalism, all the time.

      What bloggers do is "Reporting". Look at the screen (or listen to the scanner, or check your IMs and emails from your inside source), and state what's happening. Then spin it -- but always making it clear what parts are spin and what parts are fact.

      Blogs: All reporting. "Here's the numbers: K57/B43. Because I support [Kerry|Bush], I think that's [great|horrible]. Be warned that these numbers are unconfirmed. Take with huge grain of salt. I'll report more numbers as I find them."

      > > CBS Sees no Journalism in Blogs

      I'm tired of getting my news spun for me. I just want the goddamn facts, separated from the spin. Blogs serve this purpose. The mainstream media used to -- but hasn't in decades. No journalism in Blogs? GOOD.

      • I agree with a lot of what you've said, and the only addition I would make would be this: The facts are hard to come by in any case, spin or no. What I like about blogs is that there is no implicit assumption that the blogstory is without spin.

        The traditional reporting media have portrayed themselves for decades as unbiased (or at least counter-biased in all the right ways, thank you Mister Murdock). That's their credibility, and it's also where they're stuck. The depend on covering all sides "fairly,"
      • Blogs don't get in trouble if they post false facts. Reporters do. So, no, blogs aren't reporting either. Nobody is.

      • by Leebert (1694) on Monday November 08, 2004 @08:48PM (#10761499)
        'm tired of getting my news spun for me. I just want the goddamn facts, separated from the spin.

        All Hail C-SPAN [c-span.org]. Sadly, one has to expend a considerable more amount of "thought" when watching C-SPAN as opposed to the Major Media, which is why most people don't.

        The only problem with C-SPAN is Washington Journal, on which you can truly discover how incredibly stupid the average American is.

        No, check that. You can discover how incredibly stupid the ABOVE AVERAGE American is (since most normal Americans would never bother watching C-SPAN).
    • Judging by the article, not only is journalism dead, but it's also arrogant about being dead. The greatest criticism Engberg had was that blogs released TRUE information that the smarter, better people at the networks were hiding from the nwashed masses. Why? Because we, the ignorant citizens of the US, can't be trusted to use this information correctly or to understand the explanations of the "experts." What utter crap. Even if the exit polls are completely inaccurate, the raw numbers should have been free
  • Breaker Breaker (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rueger (210566) *
    "But I worked on a school paper when I was a kid and I owned a CB radio when I lived in Texas. And what I saw in the blogosphere on Nov. 2 was more reminiscent of that school paper or a "Breaker, breaker 19" gabfest on CB than anything approaching journalism. "

    That, I believe is as good a description of blog culture as we're likely to find.

    The reason why publications like the New York Times [nytimes.com] or National Public Radio [npr.org] are considered authoritative is because they have a long established track record and are
    • by Anonymous Coward
      what in the world qualifies?

      Yes a lot of claimed bias isn't real (just look at all the bias people claim about Fox). But your examples would be akin to calling the AJC (Atlanta Journal) balanced.

      It just doesn't cut it.
      • by Coryoth (254751) on Monday November 08, 2004 @06:19PM (#10760051) Homepage Journal
        Yes a lot of claimed bias isn't real (just look at all the bias people claim about Fox). But your examples would be akin to calling the AJC (Atlanta Journal) balanced.

        It just doesn't cut it.


        Guessing that you're conservative, and quite possibly Christian, I'll quite a Bible passage.

        Luke 6:42 "Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye." (KJV)

        Your perception of bias is a function of your own bias. I would question how much PBS you watch and how much NPR you listen to to arrive at your suggestion that they are hopelessly biased. It all depends on what sort of bias yu are looking for. Not sure what I mean? Consider this: NPR and PBS gave far more coverage to Michael Badnarik and David Cobb than Fox. Badnarik, in particular, polled very strongly for a third party candidate in the election, and NPRs coverage was roughly in proportion to how votes were cast. In comparison Fox's coverage was far more limited, and not at all in proportion. ABCNNCBS were even worse than Fox in that respect.

        Want to look at it another way? Compare the coverage Nader got, to the coverage Badnarik got. Now look at how many votes they got in the election? Note any discrepancy?

        So on that particlar issue PBS and NPR were pretty clearly the least biased news media around. If you were a big Badnarik supporter, you'd have to say that NPR was the way to go, and the mainstream networks were horribly biased.

        If you pick a different issue you will almost certainly find biases stacking up differently. In a large part your perception of bias will swing heavily on which issues you consider most important.

        But trying to look at it objectively (as best we can) NPR and PBS spend most of their time reporting facts, and work hard to support their opinion pieces. You can claim bias in what you choose to report (which is where many of the claims of Fox bias come from), but if you actually compare coverage you'll find they are actually surprisingly even handed with what they report.

        The NYT is, unfortunately another case, and I won't try arguing that one (in a large part sue to lack of knowledge of it).

        Jedidiah.
    • Re:Breaker Breaker (Score:4, Interesting)

      by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:24PM (#10759271) Homepage Journal
      Whilst a blog may give one persons view point, I find the alluring aspect of blogging and online amateur sites (like slash even) is not the article or POV of the original poster, but of how its responded to.

      It feels more like I'm taking part in events than sitting back watching somebody else's version.
    • Re:Breaker Breaker (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Zemplar (764598)
      No matter how good the blog and the individual credibility of the author, imagine using a blog source as a reference in a major scholarly journal.

      You'd be laughing stock in not time at all, and for good reason.
      • Re:Breaker Breaker (Score:3, Insightful)

        by WombatControl (74685)

        Don't be so sure, Wikipedia has been cited in a few court cases already, and I'm sure a blogger like Eugene Volokh (who already has an established legal career) would carry some weight.

        It's not like all blogs are LiveJournals written by angst-ridden teenage goths...

    • Re:Breaker Breaker (Score:5, Insightful)

      by andreMA (643885) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:39PM (#10759487)
      If you're going to lump bloggers together in one homogenous group, you need to include Weekly World News and The National Enquirer along with the WP and NYT.

      Each medium ranges from utter garbage to something at least rather good. The "best" of the bloggers are not up to the standards of the NYT, but they're pretty new.

  • What?!? (Score:3, Funny)

    by funny-jack (741994) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:22PM (#10759241) Homepage
    But without blogs, how would anyone get the really important news [blogspot.com]? Like George Bush attempting to eliminate his enemies? [blogspot.com]

    Oh, wait...
  • It seems to me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) <bittercode@gmail> on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:23PM (#10759256) Homepage Journal
    that CBS seems to have difficulty understanding that sometimes the best thing one can do is just to drop an issue and wait for people to get caught up in the latest Britney or Paris 'scandal'. Within a month most people will have forgotten about the forged documents and they can go back to business as usual. Fighting it just brings back all the memories.

  • On Journalism... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:23PM (#10759261) Homepage
    Engberg's piece is vicious, petty, simplistic and insulting. There's a great deal of value in to be found in weblog journalism.

    At the same time, Taco, the fact that you and other Slashdot editors so horribly mangle summaries and headlines alike does nothing but lend creedence to Engberg's mindset. This article is an opinion piece. That means that the opinion expressed therein does not reflect the opinions of CBS, Major League Baseball, or Sane People. The headline should read "Engberg Sees No Journalism in Blogs".

    Quit giving blowhards like Engberg such easy fodder. Show some interest in getting it right, not making it hot, dammit!

    • by glenrm (640773)
      I have to defend this Cmdr Taco here, I think CBS may have asked this guy to write a story, that they didn't want a journo currently working for them to write...
      • I have to defend this Cmdr Taco here, I think CBS may have asked this guy to write a story, that they didn't want a journo currently working for them to write...

        ...a fair enough concern; even though you express some doubt, you could be right.

        That said, it's still wholly irresponsible to put such a misleading headline up. The appropriate thing to you do in such a situation is voice said suspicion, not simply state suspicions as fact.

    • by Otter (3800) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:47PM (#10759605) Journal
      Except for a handful of digismugerati, I don't think anyone expects traditional journalism to be displaced by bloggers. Once that straw man is out of the way, the real issue facing CBS is this: CBS News screwed up horribly. They ran a story with documents anyone could have recognized as fakes, spent nearly two weeks spinning, lying and covering up and, to this day, have never showed a shred of regret or embarassment. And making it into some rivalry with blogs isn't going to make it go away.

      Look, you guys want to be big shots, you think you're big shots and if you do a competent job, we'll accept you as big shots. So stop all this "The Intarweb made me do it!" crying and do your damn job properly!

      • Re:On Journalism... (Score:4, Informative)

        by beakerMeep (716990) on Monday November 08, 2004 @09:21PM (#10761762)
        Aw c'mon.... Did you totally miss the parent poster's point? This isn't some lame attempt at CBS regaining credibility it's a fluff editorial by some dude. It should be given about as much credence as a editorial about how blogs ARE going to take over the world. Both ideas are rediculous sensationalism. Your right they screwed up royaly with the Bush National Guard Docs but THEY have shown remorse or at least appologized or do you think that was a disingenuous appology by Dan Rather who probably didn't hope to cap off his career this way? Let's not forget who broke Abu Ghirab shall we? Surely they are not perfect (far from it IMO) and their ego did them in with the National Guard docs but let's not condem the whole enchilada based upon the one transgression and for sure let's not do it over and over and over again...

        so it kinda seems to me that your post is a straw man argument. if you say it like this it sure sounds like one: "Since CBS ran an OP/ED that derides an other form of media they must be trying to regain credibility through making others look bad"

        Nevertheless I think most people are missing the point

        I think this guy is just old and bitter and is tired of people like wonkette disrespecting his entire profession so now that they got the exit polls so wrong he is doing a big (Neslon voice) "HA HA" which is pretty lame too if you ask me.

      • by LupusUF (512364)
        I think the mainstream media is important, and they will never go away. However, I do think the big blogers help keep the media honest...which tends to annoy the mainstream media.
    • by Junks Jerzey (54586) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:50PM (#10759653)
      Engberg's piece is vicious, petty, simplistic and insulting. There's a great deal of value in to be found in weblog journalism.

      I disagree. The vast, vast majority of even the *good* weblogs are simply rehashes of information the author found elsewhere: why he or she liked something, disagreed with something, etc. Someone agreeing or disagreeing with a news story, and telling the world why, is not journalism. It's a letter to the editor.
      • Heck, I agree with everything you said, and I stand by my original assertion. I didn't say that weblogs are digging up stories that the mainstream press aren't--though they do on occasion. Rather, I find great value in the fact that I can read the comments and thoughts of a wide range of informed weblogs. Facts alone are of limited use; the ability to read a wide range of opinions and interpretations regarding those facts is wonderfully useful. This is where the greatest value in the weblog sphere lies:
      • Something I wish more bloggers would do is go out and do their own reporting and journalism.

        At the same time I disagree with Junks Jerzey on one count: The good blogs that rehash existing news stories often come up with insightful new connections. They do have merit.

        As for doing real journalism: Hey bloggers! Find a topic, figure out who it affects among the people where you are, and start asking people questions. Interview people, do research, and write about those things. Come up with original material
      • Re:On Editors (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Syncdata (596941)
        The vast, vast majority of even the *good* weblogs are simply rehashes of information the author found elsewhere...Someone agreeing or disagreeing with a news story, and telling the world why, is not journalism. It's a letter to the editor.

        A minor distinction needs to be made, but it's the whole reason the legacy media is so pissed off at teh interweb.

        It's not a letter to the editor. It's an entirely different editor.

        When drudge links a story to his front page, it's a front page item, regardless of w
  • by kuwan (443684) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:24PM (#10759272) Homepage
    I don't think anyone has suggested that bloggers are going to be replacing journalists anytime soon or that blogs are going to be taking over the media. But bloggers can be very good fact-checkers as was displayed in the CBS/Dan Rather memo flap.

    That incident was a great example of a large group of volunteers rallying together experts that could show a news story to be false.

    Free iPod Photo [freephotoipods.com]|Free Flat Screens [freeflatscreens.com]|It really works! [wired.com]
  • Journalism? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperRob (31516) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:26PM (#10759303) Homepage
    I'm sorry ... but since when did blogs ever consider themselves Journalism? I know of exactly ZERO people who get their news from blogs. This has got to be the biggest non-story I've ever heard of.

    I'd also point out that when websites like CBSNews are running "news" stories that do nothing other than reveal the results of reality TV shows, perhaps they're not the best ones to be preaching about journalistic integrity.
  • CBS and NBC, ABC, CNN, Faux News, et all are nothing both mouthpieces for the status quo. THey are the means for maintaining the stranglehold of the rich and the corporations on the rest of America.
    There is more real journalism on ANY politics blog that on CBS over the course of the last DECADE.

  • by redelm (54142) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:27PM (#10759311) Homepage
    What was it that Ghandi said? "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win."

    Linux is following that path, with Microsoft deep into fighting territory. Blogs have passed being ignored, emerging from laughter, and starting to be seriously attacked.

    Just what do you expect from self-important competitors who are being eclipsed?

  • go to kuro5hin.org [kuro5hin.org]

    wherever you are on the political spectrum, the stuff there can be pretty laughable, or scary (everything from conspiracy theorists to extreme liberals to libertarians to racists to your obvious trolls)
  • by WombatControl (74685) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:30PM (#10759353)

    The problem is that the mainstream media tries to paint itself as some kind of oracle of information. The "blogosphere" is an organic system in that there is no official channel for information. So for instance, when Dan Rather stated to the world that the Bush National Guard documents were proof that Bush was AWOL, where were the dissenting voices? Where was the actual analysis?

    Instead what we got was CBS news using blatant forgeries, selectively shopping them around to "experts" and pushing a story that doesn't even pass the smell test. The Bush docs story stunk to high heaven, and it took bloggers a matter of hours to determine that CBS lied through their teeth. Bloggers like those at Powerline [powerlineblog.com] devastated CBS' story because the media was not willing to do the ground work they should have. Whether that was through sheer laziness or bias I will leave as an exercise to the reader.

    The mainstream media doesn't do reporting anymore. The blogosphere allows for a lot of crap, but through that crap comes a lot of valuable research. How many Iraqis are allowed to give their opinions on the nightly newscasts? Yet I can chose any number of Iraqi blogs and get a point of view that I would never see on the evening newscast - and because of it I've learned things about Iraqi culture and the situation there that the media would never have time to delve into.

    It would be much better if those crying about the lack of journalistic standards with bloggers were any better - but the only thing that seems to separate journalists from bloggers these days is that bloggers have a greater tendency to check their sources when called and don't carry around the façade of officious objectivity like a shield.

    Quite frankly, I give more credence to Glenn Reynolds [instapundit.com] than I do to Jayson Blair, Howell Raines, Andrew Gilligan, or Dan Rather - all of whom have shown that the combination of arrogance and groupthink in the mainstream media is far more pernicious than the open biases of bloggers.

    • Lack of journalistic professionalism.
    • Willfully distorting facts to support a political agenda.
    What's your poison?
  • by xiando (770382) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:30PM (#10759367) Homepage Journal
    A blog is just a means of sharing information and opinions, just like newspapers and television. A blod is just another way of presenting information, like the digital versions of newspapers do.

    The quallity of a blog depends on the person administrating it and running it, and the people who write in it. I mean, come on, some of the major news websites out there are blogs. Like slashdot...
  • by Arioch of Chaos (674116) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:31PM (#10759372) Journal
    In my experience, bloggers rarely claim to be objective. People are voicing opinions. Journalists, on the other hand, claim to be objective truth seekers but they seem to get everything wrong. Why is it that whenever they write/talk about something you know something about, they're dead wrong? One has to assume that's the normal standard and that they get away with it because most people don't notice most of the time.
  • Layer 3 Journalism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRealFixer (552803) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:32PM (#10759387)
    I call blogging "Layer 3 Journalism". You have the reporters doing the work, getting the story and writing it. Then you have the editors making political decisions on the stories, and deciding what gets put out, and how it gets released. Those are the traditional two layers of journalism.

    Bloggers are a new, third layer. They take what was already reported on by other sources, and put their own unique spin on it, with outside commentary. The problem is, the further you get from the first layer, the more distorted the original facts get. As people read the blogs, email others, and pass the commentary on, it starts to generate a buzz online, and the story gets distorted further.

    It's important to remember that most bloggers do not report the news; they report ON the news. As such, it can be useful as a sort of "watchdog" on the media. But when people start taking blogs as well-researched fact and start passing it around, it can generate enormous numbers of misinformed people.

    Not that people aren't already misinformed...
    • On the other hand, we all have too much information...
      • The FBI and CIA collectively knew there was a terrorist cell in the US planning to attack the world trade centers, but wasn't able to put the pieces together.
      • It's generally agreed a major issue that the intelligence community is dealing with is that they have way more information than they can fully analyze. Some even claim that the above sentance is automatically scanned by the CIA/FBI, automatically determined if it's "terrorist chatter", and auto
  • by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:36PM (#10759451) Homepage
    I could launch into how this is just another mass media story that ignores the stories that blogs break and scoop. I could say how blogs have been critical in keeping track of stories the mass media tries to scrub off the Internet. (See my blog for my "mass media despearately trying to ignore blogs" series.)

    But the greatest irony is that evidence is growing that Bush stole the election -- that the exit polls were in fact correct. I personally worked the polls handing out sample ballots for the Constitution Party, and the Republican standing next to me handing out his sample ballots told me he was expecting Kerry to win 2-1 at our precinct based on all those who preferred the sample ballots from the Democrat standing next to him than to his Republican sample ballots. Bush won in our precinct.

    It's too early to make the claim that Bush stole the election. But it's also too early to say that the blogs were wrong for reporting the exit polls. It's doubly wrong the ignore the current blog focus on finding election anomalies, such as the one from kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org] that was finally proved out in the mass media (with credit going toward "callers" to Ohio election officials rather than to kuro5hin).

    The mass media is supposed to be acting as the fourth branch of government, keeping the other three in check. Instead, the mass media is acting as a department of the executive branch, and it is now it is up to the blogs to keep the media in check.

  • The 2000 elections (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GreenCrackBaby (203293) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:37PM (#10759459) Homepage
    The bloggers, obtaining through leaks partial, in some cases suspect snippets of information from the early "cut" of data gathered by MSM through exit polls, were spreading a story that the network and wire service bosses knew to be incorrect because their own experts - and their journalistic experience -- had warned them of the weaknesses in such data.


    The only reason you didn't see the major news outlets doing the same (well, at least they showed some restraint *cough* foxnews *cough*) was because they all got their hands slapped during the 2000 elections doing just what the bloggers were doing during this one.

  • And you'll see what the Columbia Broadcast System is all about... :)
  • by Goo.cc (687626) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:39PM (#10759492)
    Wow, that's kind of how I feel about CBS News.
  • That's quite all right if CBS doesn't see journalism elsewhere, because the rest of us are having difficulty finding journalism in CBS.
  • Well, there certainly are some drawbacks to "blogs" as a news source. First and foremost, few of them have any professional journalists spending all their time searching out and writing up content. Secondly, their reputations are not as important, thus articles that have little or no credibility may still get posted (no one is worried about losing the public trust). Third, the quality of writing is, generally, much less professional and no one has copy editors read over their posts.

    On the other hand, b

    • Many of the political blogs I read tend to be commentary/opinion sites. They link to a story in the mainstream media (Yahoo news, AP, Reuters, whatever) and then offer their spin. The refreshing thing about blogs is that they're up-front with their biases, something the mainstream media are disinclined to do. I'd rather CBS (and the rest of their ilk) would just come out and admit their bias rather than pretend objectivity.
  • CBS and the other networks pay for some stupendously useless exit-polls to be done. Then they leak the results to a web-site or two (i.e. Drudge). Then they use the leaks as an excuse to blather on about the results of their useless exit polls for hours. Then they get stung when it is revealed just how far off the mark the polls were.

    Then they blame blogs in general for their lack of journalistic standards.

    Pfft. I fart in their general direction.
  • Haha, I have to agree. Being an old timer, I had to look at around at blogging, and just be reminded of when everyone had their first, shaky HTML page.

    95% of the blogs out there are these little high schoolers writing their journal online hoping someone will comment. Yet every one of them have "0 comments" day in and day out.

    Anyway, whatever. No body here can't see the irony of CBS saying this.

  • Triple negative? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by invenustus (56481) * on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:41PM (#10759515)
    "not that CBS hasn't been without its problems"

    I count three negatives in that sentence. So it's logically equivalent to "CBS has been without its problems". I think this is the opposite of what the writer intended to say.
    • Re:Triple negative? (Score:2, Informative)

      by pclminion (145572)
      Most modern linguists no longer ascribe to the notion that one negative word somehow cancels another. Words are not numbers like -1 and 1. A double negative does not logically indicate a positive. Indeed, in languages like French, the proper expression of the negative sense involves two words: "ne" and "pas."

      While it is true that in English, a double negative can be considered improper (and unclear), this by no means implies that the negatives are somehow "cancelling" each other out.

      Please, commit this

      • Re:Triple negative? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DunbarTheInept (764)
        So, "Not unpleasant" means "unpleasant", then? (Perhaps that's not a good example because the concept is trinary rather than binary (something can be both not unpleasant and not pleasant if it is in the middle.))

        Note that "double negative is a positive" still is true, however, in the case of binary terms like "pregnant" (you can't be half-pregnant). "Not not pregnant" does in fact mean "pregnant".)

        This concept does NOT belong in a grave, and is nothing like ending a sentence with a preposition. Ending
  • Coming from someone writing for the big dogs I can honestly say I'm not surprised. What the hell else was he going to say? "Oh, the mainstream media is fucking dead. The Internet will take over as the true purveyor of news? Yeah, that would have been printed...

    Right... I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the network news to put out a story that network news has become sensationalistic garbage.

    The only fact checking I've seen was in the presidential debate after the VP one. Some reporter came on afterw
  • by dreamchaser (49529) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:48PM (#10759618) Homepage Journal
    ...many bloggers don't see much Journalism coming from CBS. Come on, this piece is largely sour grapes because many bloggers called CBS out (and rightly so) on the whole forged Air National Guard memo issue.
  • The media is upset (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332)
    I can't remember who said it, but one of the media moguls said something about the media being able to directly influence 30% of the voters, or something along those lines.

    2004 was the year the media tried to overthrow a sitting president. You have NY Times coming out and endorsing Bush, you have the CBS "journalism", Michael Moore and the Hollywood loony crowd getting all sorts of air time.

    And the public saw threw it. I think a lot of people voted Bush in spite of it. Kerry was stupid to align himself
  • by Glendale2x (210533) <slashdotNO@SPAMninjamonkey.us> on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:53PM (#10759699) Homepage
    Exit polls, predictions, and who called what state before whom aside, I'm curious what the /. crowd thinks of this county level map:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/vot e2004/countymap.htm [usatoday.com]
  • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:54PM (#10759714) Homepage Journal
    BIG MEDIA: Bloggers are at best, amature journalists. They don't have *our* skill at conducting important, investigative journalisim.

    BLOGGERS: What about FOX, with their 'fair and balanced' coverage of news? And why is everyone starting to mimic them?

    BIG MEDIA: But, but, er...um, that is...
  • by femto (459605) on Monday November 08, 2004 @05:59PM (#10759776) Homepage
    > These polls occur in the realm of statistics and probability. They require PhD-style expertise to understand.

    Perhaps the point Mr Engberg missed is that one doen't get news from a single source in the Internet world? Instead, multiple sources are read and compared to minimise bias and stupidity. If there are statistics which require a PhD, go and find someone who has a PhD, knows satistics and can explain it to you, such as Tanenbaum [electoral-vote.com].

  • What journalism? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mabu (178417) on Monday November 08, 2004 @06:05PM (#10759845)
    Blogs are one of the last sources of contrary opinion due to the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine. The story below comes from this blog news site [bsalert.com] and touches on the issue of what's happened with our news sources, specifically relating to the analysis in the wake of the recent election:

    Most people would agree that our current political climate is heavily polarized. The media most often calls attentions to extremes in the issues, rather than seeking common ground between groups. Even the president jumps on the bandwagon with statements like, "You're either with us or you're with the terrorists." With no room for compromise, fueled by a media system which seeks to divide everything into two clearly contrasting piles of soundbytes, it's no wonder half the public is extremely polarized and the other half extremely apathetic.

    How did things get to this point? Many argue the winner communicated more effectively than the loser. I agree. And many argue that the losers didn't have the right message. To that I also agree. But trying to understand what the Kerry camp did wrong is a waste of time when you ignore the extreme tilt of the playing field upon which they performed.

    It is my contention that two specific events have contributed to the current situation:

    1. The veto of the Fairness Doctrine [wikipedia.org] in 1987 by Ronald Reagan:

    The policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission that became known as the "Fairness Doctrine" is an attempt to ensure that all coverage of controversial issues by a broadcast station be

    balanced and fair [museum.tv]. The FCC took the view, in 1949, that station licensees were "public trustees," and as such had an obligation to afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view on controversial issues of public importance. The Commission later held that stations were also obligated to actively seek out issues of importance to their community and air programming that addressed those issues. With the deregulation sweep of the Reagan Administration during the 1980s, the Republican-controlled Commission dissolved the fairness doctrine.

    The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine harkened a new age in media and journalism. News outlets were no longer forced to adopt middle ground positions when covering issues; editorial no longer need be confined to narrow areas, and the airwaves exploded with thousands of heavily polarized pundits broadcasting 24 hours a day their agendas, without any concern for fairness or covering alternative viewpoints.

    Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and thousands of other partisian pundits were free to spew their slanted take on the world without ever considering the need to offer anything but a wholly one-sided tale of the issues. Left un-regulated and therefore un-challeneged, their hubris expanded to epic preportions as evidenced in statements like, "Fair and Balanced, "No Spin Zone", etc.

    And thus began the modern propaganda wars. Unfortunately it's more of a massacre [consortiumnews.com]than a real war.

    Yes, the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine also gave liberal entities the same freedom. The problem is the platforms for these pundits were mostly commercial radio stations, and the conservatives took the role of spokespeople for the agenda of corporate America, unarguably the true political power in the nation. Liberals, representing the moderate voice of the mainstream didn't have the resources that mouthpieces for big-pharma, insurance, finance, oil and defense contractors, and as a result, found themselves literally drowning in a sea of pro-big-business propaganda, with no way to get equal airtime and thus, no comparable method [huppi.com]

    • by DunbarTheInept (764)

      Even the president jumps on the bandwagon with statements like, "You're either with us or you're with the terrorists."

      He's not just jumping on the bandwagon. He built the bandwagon and is up in front driving it.
  • by jburroug (45317) <slashdot@@@acerbic...org> on Monday November 08, 2004 @06:46PM (#10760390) Homepage Journal
    While traditional media may be letting us down in a big way these days that doesn't mean that news blogs are going to replace them. The problems that have caused traditional media to let us down recently are the direct result of the corporate media consolidation that have forced news departments to become entertaining profit centers in the company as opposed to serious outlets for informing the public. As the author of this article points out that's his main complaint with news-bloggers: their main concern is to generate hits and commentary by breaking controversial "news" as soon as possible. He is entirely correct when claims that this is NOT journalism.

    Don't get me wrong, blogs are a great thing and give many people the opportunity to voice their opinions and talk about how life for everyday people really is during times of great importance. Imagine how valuable a resource it would be to historians to discover an ancient blogsphere of some sorts that offered insight into the daily lives of Roman citizens, for example. That's what blogs excel at, documenting everyday life. Information that's valuable not only to future historians but to contemporary researchers and (we can hope) leaders.

    Back to the problems with traditional media. Jon Stewart makes this point best in his chapter on the media in American the book as well as on his Crossfire appearence. Those are real problems and they really are doing serious harm to the democratic process in the USA. The problem with American media today isn't that they are old stodgy dionsaurs that can't keep up with the internet age, rather it's that they've abandoned the slower, methodical approach to journalism that produces accurate, insightful stories. We need more professionalism and accountability in journalism, not less. If you want to understand the mood of the digital street, as it were, turn to the blogosphere, if you want insightful, accurate and factual reporting you turn to.... err well, I dunno The Daily Show? Traditional news outlets have dropped the ball and are basically just a conduit for party talking heads to transmit talking points and no longer bother to point out if the talking points are accurate or even remotely connected with reality. That needs to be fixed, by returning to high standards of professionalism that industry used to hold itself to, the kind of journalism that investigated Watergate not the kind that investigated blow-job-gate.

    Blogs will play an increasingly important role in the journalistic landscape in coming years and will supplement traditional journalism rather than replace it. Their highest potentional is to serve as an important check and balance on the fourth estate, the meta-moderators as it were on the people charged with keeping government transparent and honest. They will also continue to be the leading source of news on who your cousin Steve is dating, what your giant asshole of a boss did at work today, not mention becoming the single biggest source of teenage agnst on the planet :-)
  • by rewt66 (738525) on Monday November 08, 2004 @07:32PM (#10760895)
    ... can be summed up in one phrase: "What's true vs. the truth".

    Let's start with this: The sky is green. That statement is actually true in a way, in that there is green light coming from the sky. If you ran the light from the sky through a prism (you would have to columnate it first), you would see that this is true. And if you looked at the sky through a filter that only let green light pass, it wouldn't be black. So in that sense, it is true that the sky is green.

    Nevertheless, the truth is that the sky is blue. I mean, go outside and look up, and what do you see?

    I say all this to illustrate what I mean by "the truth" versus "what is true". And once you look at things with this distinction in mind, you see this all over the place.

    Politics, for instance. The two examples that immediately come to mind are, "I did not inhale" and "I did not have sex with that woman." And both may be true. But the truth is, he smoked pot and he had sex with that woman.

    But the point here is the news media. "Today John Kerry charged blah blah blah. The White House responded blah blah blah." And it's all true. John Kerry really said it. Someone from the White House did in fact say the other. It's all true. But what's the truth? They don't tell us.

    This is the glaring flaw in the current news media. They are trying so hard to be "unbiased" (never mind that they do show bias in what stories they run, and they slant the stories a bit). But they are determined to give quotes from both sides, to let both present their side of the story. The problem is that the truth is biased. Somebody's view doesn't square with the facts very well. (Or, quite possibly, neither side does.) But the media doesn't point this out so that they will remain "unbiased".

    I don't know if blogs are the answer. But the news media is certainly the problem.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday November 08, 2004 @10:34PM (#10762283) Homepage Journal
    5 Stages of Grief [planet101.com]:

    1. denial: "no journalism in blogs"
    2. anger or resentment: "damn lying blogs"
    3. bargaining: "our website is kind of a blog"
    4. depression: "Our website traffic is down 40%, to blogs"
    5. acceptance: CBSNewsBlog.com
  • CEE BS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WCMI92 (592436) on Monday November 08, 2004 @11:56PM (#10762812) Homepage
    CBS, Dan Rather, and FORGED MEMOS don't exactly enforce confidence. Dan "Red" Rather shot his wad and lost.

    The fact that CBS laments blogs reiforces the fact that the OLD MEDIA is upset that they are no longer the final, dictatorial word as to what Americans see and believe.

"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds." -- J. Finnegan, USC.

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