The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Globe reporter chimes in on TNR/blog dustup

And just try to guess whose side he takes. I'm no blog apologist. Like everyone else (even professional journalists), liberal bloggers make mistakes. They lose their temper. They can unwittingly spread misinformation. But the mainstream press has picked an 'angle' from which to write about liberal blogs, and it's as inaccurate as any blog post: liberal bloggers are extremists, fascists who want to violently do away with the press and take its place. Odd, given that the story comes within a week of conservative blogs 'outing' reporters' personal information and encouraging harassment while calling for their imprisonment or execution.

But on to the article. If you haven't been following the story of blogs v New Republic, the article's shortcomings won't be immediately apparent. But in covering TNR's attacks, the reporter fails to mention that A) the magazine's Jason Zengerle printed a forged e-mail to make his case, B) had no evidence to back up his claims that the blogosphere was run like a pyramid scheme, and C) that several other TNR writers got into the action making personal attacks and comparing bloggers as a whole to Nazis without adding anything to Zengerle's initial accusations.

That hyperbole justifiably angered a lot of bloggers, as being called a fascist or Stalinist tends to do. It was just the sort of behavior the blogs are accused of, and TNR uses the outraged response of bloggers as evidence that they really are Nazis after all, and the magazine is the victim. But the Boston Globe article is too busy talking about "violent" bloggers and TNR's "decades-long history and elite reputation" to mention any of that.

I guess it's fitting that many bloggers were inspired to start their sites by the failures of the press over the last decade-- the endless reporting on Whitewater and Clinton's sex life, the hammering of Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004, the uncritical reporting of phony intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war, and so on-- only to find themselves the latest targets of the press corps' ire.