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When Blog Networks Make News, Silence Abounds 100

1sockchuck writes "It's been a bad week for transparency and disclosure in the blogosphere, demonstrating that once blogging starts making money, the rules change. Nick Douglas was dismissed from ValleyWag, Jason Calacanis bolts from AOL, and co-founder Duncan Riley abruptly departs from b5media. Where do we get the real story? From The New York Times, or not at all. If we've come to expect honesty and straight talk from blogging icons, it's because so many blogospheric leaders have told us we should. And now suddenly we're getting the snarky insider accounts of blogospheric dirt from The New York Times?"
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When Blog Networks Make News, Silence Abounds

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  • Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <Satanicpuppy@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday November 17, 2006 @04:57PM (#16889998) Journal
    You're laughably naive if you thought it would be any other way. The media (including blogs) is only answerable to other media. They keep each other honest. This is why you see papers like the Times printing lots of stories about themselves when they catch a reporter plagarizing; because when you out yourself, you get to keep a little face. People give you a little credit, even though you screwed 'em, when you own up to it and try to make amends.

    But mostly, and by mostly I mean 99% of the reason, is because you do not ever ever want to give that kind of ammo to your competition. You will be found out and when you are, they will make you pay...Remember the Bush papers?

    This is a prime example. The Times breaks it, but everyone and their dog will jump on the bandwagon about how the oh-so-transparent Blogs are perfectly willing to bury information when it comes to themselves. Can you really trust them? Is it just a passing fad? News at 11:00.

    This is a good lesson for them. It's not easy to gain credibility, but it's easy as pie to lose it, and when people catch you in a single omission, they'll wonder how many omissions they failed to catch, and no amount of assurance will convince them that the answer is zero.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nos. ( 179609 )
      However, this is a difference between media, and news sources. Generally, one can think of The Times, and such as sources for news (okay, you can argue that as well, but you know what I mean). Blogs, really, are nothing more than personal accounts. Taking anything in a blog to be fact, or relying on them to be completely honest is pretty naive in my opinion.
      • Sadly, naivety is not a defense...
        and if just one person believes it, there can be a lawsuit claiming libel.

        If there is a reasonable chance that one or more people may believe it.... there can be a lawsuit.
        People like to sue, ya know?
        Quick easy money..

        *sigh*

        • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <Satanicpuppy@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday November 17, 2006 @05:44PM (#16890600) Journal
          Really hard to press libel against a person who's making statements about a public figure. I mean, if I say, "I've heard that Dick Cheney falsified reports about WMDs" what could you sue me for? I just said I heard it, I didn't attribute it, I didn't claim it was true, or from a reputable source. Hell, most of the 24 hour news channels say crap like this in the form of speculation all day long.

          I could claim, "Joe Lieberman today failed to deny reports that he was an affectionado of child pornography" without even asking him the question, and I could say he did deny it, as of course he would if someone asked him, then I could crop out anything except the sound bite of him saying, "I do not watch child porn!" and play it over and over and over again until "Lieberman" and "Child Porn" are forever linked in your brain.

          It's a dirty dirty world, and there is a lot of stuff you can do that's not quite libelous or slanderous that is nonetheless dirty as hell. Any half competent blogger should be able to skirt that line with no trouble at all...But don't try it with non-public figures! The standard there is a hell of a lot lower.
          • What you are speaking of is opinion. Opinion is mostly protected by the freedom of speech, but not always. Especially when it comes to defamation...
            "Opinion is a defense recognized in nearly every jurisdiction. If the person makes a statement of opinion rather than a statement of fact, defamation claims usually cannot be brought because opinions are inherently not falsifiable. Some jurisdictions have eliminated the distinction between fact and opinion, and allow any statements suggesting a factual basis to
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by jlarocco ( 851450 )

            Also works with question marks. [youtube.com]

      • Re:Duh (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <Satanicpuppy@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday November 17, 2006 @05:34PM (#16890472) Journal
        Well, in my opinion, most media these days plays too fast and loose with the truth *cough* television *cough cough* and Blogs are really just more of the same. No one really holds them accountable, so while Blog A) may be honest and fair Blog B) could just be a complete partisan shill, lying his ass off, knowing no one can prove he's definitely wrong.

        I think pretty much any story that doesn't include solid research into publicly available documents or primary sources who are willing to go on the record, is worthless, and this includes most Blogs, most television news, and not a few print news sources as well.
        • Other blogs tend to hold bloggers to account, but they degenerate into flamewars, and blogwars, because there's no "professional" courtesy extended, or national advertising contracts to lose if they are seen as bickering children by the public.

          I write on my blog about bloggers saying stupid things all of the time - yet I'm statistically invisible because I only have about 400 eyes [assuming no cyclops] reading my site a day. Unless a pair of those eyes is from CNN, a big-blogger, or the government, my impac
      • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @05:35PM (#16890476) Homepage Journal
        Blogs, really, are nothing more than personal accounts.

        More than personal accounts, many blogs are deeper analysis than mainstream media provides. Look at what Groklaw has done to educate the masses on some legal topics. Plus today some mainstream media supplement their news with blog posts from editors and reporters. That has the opportunity to offer more insight than just an news article.

        And even if blogs are nothing more than personal accounts, who to better tell a story than a person who was there? I'd rather read blog posts from debating House Representatives than a news article that merely summarizes it. I sometimes read the blog of a former pharmaceutical CEO because his analysis of that industry and its political influence is far more informative than any news reporter.
    • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @05:48PM (#16890650) Homepage Journal
      This is why you see papers like the Times printing lots of stories about themselves when they catch a reporter plagarizing; because when you out yourself, you get to keep a little face.

      Oh, yeah, right. That's why the Times was all over Judith Miller and Armstrong Williams and their conflicts of interest when they were acting as shills for the White House and uncritically publishing their lies as fact... Oh, wait. They weren't.

      It was the blogs that reported on these developments honestly and incisively. The Times has an Imperial assload to answer for.

      Schwab

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      The editor of the Memphis Avalanche swoops thus mildly down upon a
      correspondent who posted him as a Radical:--"While he was writing
      the first word, the middle, dotting his i's, crossing his t's, and
      punching his period, he knew he was concocting a sentence that was
      saturated with infamy and reeking with falsehood."--Exchange.

      I was told by the physician that a Southern climate would improve my
      health, and so I went down to Tennessee, and got a berth on the Morning
      Glory and Johnson County War-Whoop as associate
    • There's another angle. Valleywag was fired because of comments he gave to another web site [10zenmonkeys.com].


      This tells me Nick Denton has a surprisingly limited faith in the power of openness - one that's not shared by the rest of the blog-o-sphere.

  • The only thing I trust is anonymous cowards. Transparency indeed. (insert 19th Century Victorian *hmph*).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You trust the one class of writers who CANNOT be held accountable if they should deliberately lie??
  • by Channard ( 693317 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @04:59PM (#16890020) Journal
    .. are you saying that MySpace and Livejournal aren't reliable sources of information?
  • Speak for yourself (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alaska Jack ( 679307 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @04:59PM (#16890032) Journal

    If we've come to expect honesty and straight talk from blogging icons, it's because so many blogospheric leaders have told us we should.

    Huh? Wha? I have no idea what or who you're talking about here. Are you telling me that your criteria for whether or not a person is honest is if they tell you they are? If so, please use the pronoun "I". Where on earth did you get "we" from?

    Alaska Jack

    • Apparently the blogospheric leaders?

      Obese hacks living in their parent's basements UNITE!!

    • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @05:05PM (#16890102) Journal
      If we've come to expect honesty and straight talk from blogging icons
      Huh? Wha? I have no idea what or who you're talking about here. Are you telling me that your criteria for whether or not a person is honest is if they tell you they are? If so, please use the pronoun "I". Where on earth did you get "we" from?

      Well, that's where the "if" comes from. It's also possible that the pronoun "we" refers not to all of us, but rather the subset of us that has come to expect honesty and straight talk.

      As for me, I expect as much honesty and straight talk from a blog as much as I expect the same from any politician at the state or national level... not at all.
    • by Thansal ( 999464 )
      Just to point out:

      That is a cut and past from TFB. that said blog seems to be a blog, about the blogging community (I refuse to use that stupid word), by the blogging community, thus "we".

      As for the rest of it.

      I dono, possibly I am just to tired to really get what is going on, but WTH is this about?

      Some (possibly) large names in the blogging community left/got booted from their respective companies, and none of the bloggers reported on it, but the NYT did.

      so?
    • If we've come to expect honesty and straight talk from blogging icons,...

      then we're idiots. Critical thinking should apply to all forms of communication - including "blogs".

    • Hell, I don't know who any of these people are!

      Nick Douglas? Jason Calacanis? Duncan Riley? Why do these people matter?

      I guess I've been living under an Internet connected rock...

  • by krell ( 896769 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @05:02PM (#16890068) Journal
    ...for the main reason that I've never seen a blog worth anything that requires you register with some dumb pointless "Elmer Fudd at 90210" registration just to be able to read it like the NYT does.
    • NYT is primarly print, while blogs are strictly web based. Sort of comparing apples to oranges (I get my news from blogs and print).
      • "NYT is primarly print, while blogs are strictly web based. Sort of comparing apples to oranges (I get my news from blogs and print)."

        I was referring to the NYT web site, not to the newspaper.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Meh. The print media business is pretty conservative by nature, even if their views run the spectrum. The "internets" are a little more than a decade in the public consciousness, and print media rightly fears what they represent in terms of their long term business strategy.

          My personal viewpoint (speaking as a guy who does tech for a print newspaper) is that the death of actual "paper" is the best thing that could ever happen to print media, because almost all the heartache and stress of the industry revolv
          • However they haven't come up with a "good" way of working out compensation yet, and that prompts them to stupid measures like this.

            Yeah that whole sell-adspace-next-to-text thing must be hard for them to figure out.
          • by netbuzz ( 955038 )
            As someone who works for a longtime print-and-online publication, it's my view that the answer to the question of how long print will survive is really quite simple: for as long as print continues to be profitable. There will be unprofitable publications hanging on for no reason other than hope, of course, but even with a significant culling of the print herd there will continue to be vast audiences who simply prefer print or cannot consume their news (or whatever) any other way. There's no print-vs-online
            • by krell ( 896769 )
              " Also, I believe that those who are cheering the ongoing attrition are unaware or unappreciative of the price the public is paying as the ranks of professional reporters shrinks as print pubs struggle for survival"

              As the paid reporters shrink, the number of reporters doing it for the mere love of reporting in the alternative/new media soars. As a result, we're finding out more about our governments and our societies than we EVER did when the news was limited to just the output of a few "professional" re
  • Blind Trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hijacked Public ( 999535 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @05:03PM (#16890080)
    This just serves to illustrate that we should never blindly trust what people tell us, and that critical thinking skills can't be dispensed with just because we think some author somewhere is above reproach.

    But don't just take my word for it.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Did anyone else just have a flashback to Reading Rainbow? Now I want to see some kids do overly-enthusiastic reviews of the articles...

      Butterflies in the skyyyyyy, I can go twice as higgggghhhhhh.....
    • I think it serves to illustrate that, no matter how we use are critical thinking, we're dependant on second-hand interpretations from people we believe to be trustworthy authorities. We have no choice to trust the mainstream media unless there's someone else explaining how we're being "duped". We trust that "someone else" until the mainstream media tells us that they're just as crooked.

    • This just serves to illustrate that we should never blindly trust what people tell us...

      I've often found that the terms in which a discussion is framed, and what is omitted, is at least as important as what is directly stated.
  • by Dan Slotman ( 974474 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @05:05PM (#16890104)
    The rules didn't change because blogs started making money. Rather, now bloggers have something to lose, and they don't want to lose it. And worse than losing something would be throwing it away by pointing out your own problems to the world. People's first instinct is hide, not voice, their own problems. Unlike traditional news sources, blogs haven't had the longevity to know that transparency is the best policy.
  • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @05:09PM (#16890162)
    The NYT also likes to cite 'blogghorea" as well .

    There's some truth to this, because bloggers have a "can't get no respect" problem that often gives them an attitude that opposes 'legitimate' journalists. 'Legitimate' journalists, in turn, decry bloggers.

    At some point, bloggers are useful and convey good information, if not aligned with both legal and journalistic principles. Now journalists are becoming bloggers, and the distinctions are becoming exceedingly blurred.

    What we wanted is truth, or opinion, but clear distinctions between the two, and referential rather than specious information. The quality of both journalists and bloggers is now emerging, and there's a price tag for that quality-- and we're willing to pay for it, because we need the truth, we need opinion, and we need referential integrity.

    It's all natural.
  • Anyone else nearly vomit seeing the word "blog" that many times?
  • I Heard Something (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @05:18PM (#16890282) Homepage Journal
    What a total misunderstanding of both blogs and mass media. The only reason any media outlets, however interactive, publish stories about each other is competition among them, and defense from such competition. Blogs publish stories only because they're interesting to the blogger. Bloggers aren't so much in competition with each other yet. And blogs' personalities aren't the main interest yet, compared to newspaper writers. So stories about those bloggers changing publishers is just "insider baseball", not even interesting enough for practically any blogger to cover.

    Although I note that we're discussing those stories in Slashdot, a (ginormous) blog.

    The story made it to this blog once it became interesting enough to the blogger, the submitter, and the publisher, Slashdot's "author", that it got written (in 3 minutes) and published (typically <30s). It got covered by the NYT, because the NYT is threatened in its power as its circulation further declines, and it transforms into a mainly online publication. It's in competition with AOL, and struggles to exert power over the influence of those name brand bloggers.

    The age where an editorial board of a mass (one-way) publication like the NYT controls the definition of "what's news" is drawing to a close. If you think an event is news, blog it, or get a popular blogger to blog it. If that's not a good enough system for you, produce or contribute to a project that produces another layer, like a weighting system for an RSS aggregator that can amplify tiny blog stories (and cache/loadbalance them) that do cover these events, when they're interesting to you and people like you.

    The new age of P2P journalism is here. Since it was built with the tools of the old centralized journalism, it will resemble the old regime at first. But its agendas, the way its agendas are served, "what's news", and how it becomes "news", not just "new", are a quantum leap from the old regime. In what directions has yet to be seen. It's still up to us.
    • The new age of P2P journalism is here.

      I'm not so sure of that.

      On any given day, look at Slashdot's front page, and I guarantee most of the news stories will have first been reported by professional journalists. Most of the blogs most of us read are likewise not full of original reporting. They may be original commentary, but that's a different animal. What we see a lot of currently is free commentary on, or just links to, original reporting produced by pretty conventional methods, and this is an impendi

      • I think you're interpreting DocRuby a little too literally, Watts. You're focused on news-as-facts, while DocRuby seems to be more focused on news-as-what-we-care-about, i.e., the editorial side of things. The distinction is a bit blurry, but if you apply what DocRuby said to the specific area of the op-ed page, I think he might even have you convinced.

        Consider the case of /. itself. You focus on the fact that it's all about stories reported elsewhere first. But that's not really the point of /. or m
        • I'm not so sure the difference is entirely in the meta level of the content, though I do think that aspect is relevant, as I replied [slashdot.org].

          I meant what I said "literally" (pun appreciated ;). But I think the difference is more in "the news" as "the stories we hear". I don't see any clear distinction between "facts" and "editorial" content in news media, especially the most popular; just a degree of editorial, and sometimes just a degree of covert editorial (and sometimes covert, fake, "facts"). Ultimately the new
      • You're giving the mass media too much credit for the journalism done by a very few. Even the newspapers are largely reprinting the AP and Reuters. When they're not, they're usually just getting their own rewritten version of those stories under their own writer's byline. Tim Krause' The Boys on the Bus [wikipedia.org] documents "pack journalism", where stories are vetted by editors against the wire stories they all get, defining the "conventional wisdom", first in the newsroom, then in the public mind. TV news is even wors
    • by slowbad ( 714725 )
      On Friday's CBS Evening News, there was a "story" at the end of the program about how to go online and vote for which of 3 topics you want them to do as a "story" next week.

      In less time than it takes to find the poll, you can Google the topic of your choice instead and have better information from the blogs than that "story" will yield next week.

      CBS News picked up those 3 topics from blogs, they will further 'research' the winning topic from blogs, and then ask viewers to discuss the topic further on thei

    • I feel that various threads here are scrambling some of the issues.

      "Old Line" news had a fundamental fixed cost problem to overcome. "The cost of the building plus salaries plus publish equipment plus secondary costs" had to be dealt with before the first month's paper sales were completed.

      Rent is a seller's market. "Awww. You couldn't pay your rent. I guess I have to evict you." (With varying grace periods.) Cash flow in is also the Seller's market. 80% of people's integrity is shot when their actions SERI
  • technological advancements don't change fundamental human behavior, whether good (for those who believe the internet would be a utopia) or bad (for those who believe playing video games makes people murder)

    news at 11
  • by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @05:27PM (#16890390) Journal

    Excuse me if I don't get it, but this story seems to be about the fact that some bloggers I never heard of got fired and some other blogger I never heard of thinks that some unnamed additional bloggers should have blogged about it before the NYT reported on it, and we know this because....

    ...he said so in his blog.

    Ok, maybe I'm different from most blog readers, but I:

    • Tend not to read/trust/care about blogs I've never heard of
    • Use blogs as a source of information that I might not otherwise have encountered but not as proof that that information is factual or unbiased
    • Expect that there will be gaps in what I hear even if I had the time to read all the blogs on the planet every day
    • Not care a bit about meta-blogging, and even less about this sort of meta-meta blogging

    Other than the fact that this item seems to fit the "blog related flamebait" template, I frankly don't see the point of it. Does anyone really expect that blogs will give them complete and accurate behind the scenes information about the blogging carriers of every blogger on the planet? Does anyone seriously want them to? (Other than this guy who obviously cared enough blog about it I mean.)

    --MarkusQ

    • by grazzy ( 56382 )
      No, whats worse is like these people / posts are acting like they ARE talking about wellknown and/or people. I mean, I know who the Calanis guy is because hes' he was accused of spamming with his blogs (weblogs inc, a network of blogs) before. Even then I thought he got way to much credit..

      The blogosphere is all about collective jerking off to their own made up sense of how famous and good they are. Closest relative is the phenomen of real life documentary people living in a house for 30 days coming out as
      • by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @05:55PM (#16890732) Journal
        The blogosphere is all about collective jerking off to their own made up sense of how famous and good they are.

        Some, but not all of it. There are also the people who care deeply about a subject, and for whom the facts matter much more than the personalities. A year or so ago I decided to try my hand at cheese making. A little bit of google led me to a cheese makers blog, in which I found several years of detailed first hand accounts of his efforts at amature cheese making, along with interesting comments, questions, and (in a few cases) differing opinions from his readers.

        This is where bogs really shine. Care about SCO v. IBM? Or the Plame outing and coverup? Interested in making your own Victorian christmas ornaments? Or a trebuchet? There's a blog out there for you. Ditto if you're dealing with some strange (to you) illness, trying to learn a new language, or planning a vacation off the beaten path.

        Yes, there are a lot of bloggers whose sole topic seems to be "Look at me ma, I'm a blogger!" but they are easy to ignore. Don't cast out the interesting ones along with the loudmouths who have nothing to say.

        --MarkusQ

        • <-1 OffTopic>

          I've been wanting to try cheese making lately- can you post a link to the blog you found?

          Thanks.

          </-1 OffTopic>

          • It was about a year ago and a quick scan through my bookmarks failed to turn up a link, though I did find bookmarks to a few things he had linked to here [uc.edu] and here [countrylife.net] which should help you get started. I'll post back if I come across the blog itself.

            Cheese making, from the little I dabbled in it, seems to be quite fun. Be prepared to make some mistakes (I'd recommend --MarkusQ

          • It was about a year ago and a quick scan through my bookmarks failed to turn up a link, though I did find bookmarks to a few things he had linked to here [uc.edu] and here [countrylife.net] which should help you get started. I'll post back if I come across the blog itself.

            Cheese making, from the little I dabbled in it, seems to be quite fun. Be prepared to make some mistakes (I'd recommend < 1/2 liter batches to start) and to share your successes with friends while they're fresh.

            --MarkusQ

    • by Kelson ( 129150 ) *
      What makes this bizarre is the apparent belief that the "blogosphere" is somehow cohesive and all contributors follow some sort of code of conduct. Sure, there are people who are all about leading an information revolution, the "never change a word of what you've written" school of thought, etc. But come on... people don't even blog in the same *ways*. You've got people who post little more than links and "Hey this is cool." You've got people who post original writing on various subjects. You've got p
    • Yup, definitely a case of DFKDFC.
  • ...is that bloggers are usually much more open about their political biases than The New York Times. The "anything to hurt Bush" reporting that has increasingly come to characterize the paper in the last four years. Before that their liberal bias was also pronounced (how many front page stories do New York readers really want to read about Augusta National Golf Course's membership rules?), but in the last few years it's come to infect such places as the Theater, Architecture, and Fashion (!) sections.

    At l

    • that New York Times reporters try their best to report factually and objectively despite their personal biases, while bloggers like Instapundit and DailyKos write to defend and trumpet their personal biases.

      And if we're going to play "own your bias," the first place you might want to look is in a mirror:

      The "anything to hurt Bush" reporting that has increasingly come to characterize the paper in the last four years...I now await the usual Slashdot downmodding of non-liberal political posts.

      I'm not exactly s
  • by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @05:43PM (#16890594) Homepage
    There is this charming piece there, written a long, long time ago, concerning a "researcher" that spent all of his time reading and re-interpreting the writings of other "researchers". There was a statement to the effect that going and looking at original sources was too much trouble and way too difficult. Besides, all the real work had already beend one once, why simply repeat that?

    Well folks, we are pretty much there. Journalists now spend probably equal amounts of time covering each other, gossipping and relying in innuendo and hearsay rather than facts. Little wonder we have the sort of news media we have today with this.

    And the "internet journalists" are probably the worst. We have "aggregator sites" on the web which simply dish out stories rehashed from other web sites. We have bloggers writing stuff about aggregated news sites and other bloggers.

    Read the bit about the "Old Empire" in Foundation and see if you think it is happening here now.
    • EM Forster wrote a short story on a similar theme much earlier [if I was at home instead of work I'd find the reference & date]. As a prediction of the information society and the n levels of redirection / interpretation / lack of original research it was both prescient and accurate [and at least 70 - 80 years ahead of its time]
    • The only thing missing really are archives that last. The Waybackmachine just doesn't hack it.
  • The best thing about the media today is that it's so easy to get to the truth. Not only that, but you can find whatever version of the truth you are looking for!

    I seriously question whether these groups do in fact keep each other honest. If you have multiple groups lying, and each accusing the others of lying, that doesn't help anyone find the truth, because the accusations may be lies as well.

  • Nothing for you to see^H^H^H, er, um, ah, hear here.
  • by c64k ( 16259 )
    Who are all these people, and why do I care that they were fired or moved on?
  • If this was another sotry made up in the back room? Times done it before.
  • The big "blogging" case in Canada that's in the news (or was, until it fizzled) is that (former) Conservative Party backbencher Garth Turner was very efficiently booted from the party, because he was being to open on his blog about the goings-on in government.

    He pretty much took it in stride, called their bluff, and became a proud Independent MP (fairly rare in Canada, due to election financing rules). This past Tuesday he held a press conference where he revealed many of the problems with party politics, i
  • if you read it in the times, it really happened, and you got it straight.

    bloggers are basically loose cannons rolling across the public landscape with zillions of their own agendas.

    there will be no "blogs of record" when the next chapter of history is put to bed.
  • I think one problem is that people keep fooling themselves about what blogs really are. Make no mistake, blogs are, of course, a great way for people to communicate - for example, for managers to communicate with their employees, or people to communicate with relatives in other countries -, or to cover rapidly changing topics. Further advantages are that you don't need significant amounts of money to reach an audience, and that blogs are easily accessible and always readily available. Blogs are good (even though they started out as an annoying buzzword).

    But what blogs are not, even though some people just won't stop claiming it, is some sort of radically new media that solves most of the problems of traditional media. Blogs aren't really news outlets - 99% of them get their news from other sources, e.g. the established organisations that they decry as the "old media". 99% of blogs don't give you any new facts, they simply pass on facts that they have picked up elsewhere. And some blogs deliberately spread misinformation. After all, it only takes very little to create a good-looking blog, so a reputable writer will look just as serious as a complete charlatan.

    At the end of the day, blogs are basically nothing other than your good old-fashioned soap box brought into the 21st century - or maybe I should say, soapbox 2.0. Blogs might give everyone a chance to make his voice heard, might be a great solution to the problem of censorship, might be great to spark a good debate in the comments, might be a lot better for diversity of thought and opinion, and blogs might be a really convenient way of publishing things - but blogs are NOT by definition more reputable than "old media". Perhaps even less so. At the end of the day, if you want a balanced opinion, there is no one source of information you can use. You still need to get as many views on issues as you can, consider your sources objectively, and make up your own mind. And no new trend or technological advance on the web is going to change that.

    I think if people took a moment to think about it and understand this, they wouldn't be so surprised when stories such as this one come up.
    • 99% of blogs don't give you any new facts, they simply pass on facts that they have picked up elsewhere.

      So this differentiates said blogs from the so-called "real journalists" because they pick the facts from elsewhere(s) with names like Reuters, AP, etc? And just because these "elsewheres" sell their facts to anyone willing to pay for it, make up the news then? I don't think so. They pick up their facts from elsewhere as well - only difference, they pay for the fact-gathering while many bloggers do their

      • So this differentiates said blogs from the so-called "real journalists" because they pick the facts from elsewhere(s) with names like Reuters, AP, etc? And just because these "elsewheres" sell their facts to anyone willing to pay for it, make up the news then? I don't think so. They pick up their facts from elsewhere as well - only difference, they pay for the fact-gathering while many bloggers do their research on their own expense.

        To cut a long story short: A (well-written and -researched) Blog does no
        • That was not my point. Besides, a friend of mine runs a blog with news about recruiting employees online, he does his research for the news the same way full-time journalists do (or should do) their job, meaning his way of getting the news is by talking to the CEOs of the more interesting companies and their employees; wading through their press-material; etc.

          Back to my point, or the point I was trying to make, that is: A blog does not differ from any other online-publication, there are gems and there is tr
  • as soon as any medium goes commericial -- I.E. -- "has a payroll, makes money, etc." it enters the same realm of censoring and forced ignorance as the rest of them. Mainly because people go into a self preservation mode to protect their ability to keep "getting paid" or "staying out of jail".

    BIG web sites and blogging services are the latest victim of this effect.
  • by Knytefall ( 7348 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @09:34PM (#16892812)
    See post
    here [valleywag.com].

    Excerpt:
    It's traditional for an exiting Gawker Media editor to write a farewell post. I don't have anything to get across, other than that I'm free for lunch and gig offers for the next few weeks, so I'll just thank the people who, as my friend Paul put it, "write Valleywag for free."
  • Whether you're listening to an overpaid talking head on CNN, at the NYT, or "in the blogosphere", of course, the same mechanisms are at work about how these people make tradeoffs between money, popularity, access, and influence.

    Diversify your blog reading and you'll get a better picture.
  • by sulli ( 195030 ) *
    When blog networks "make news," it's not news.

    Maybe in the navel-gaze-o-sphere, it is. But not in the real world.

According to all the latest reports, there was no truth in any of the earlier reports.

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