Monday, October 04, 2004

Do bloggers make good watchdogs?

An article in the Oct. 4 Newsweek talks about blogging and its impact on journalism. The magazine makes a very good, and interesting point, tghat bloggers have been true to their promise in the fact thay're promising to "fact-check Big Media's ass." But are their motives as simple as just wanting to keep the media in-line.
I don't think so.
Bloggers seem to enjoy walking the fine line that professional journalists try to steer clear from.......libel. Bloggers seem not to let the facts get in the way of a good story. They have been bragging in recent weeks of finding mistakes and omissions that the traditional media has made. An example, is the CBS News erros and Dan Rather concerning the Bush National Guard years. In reality, bloggers have been a, make that a wasp nest, of pain for tradional media professionals to have to soothe. But also, bloggers blow things out of proportions. Dan Rather's errors, as wella s his employers, didn't deserve Watergate attention, did it? No. But bloggers, as well as web and wikicommunities busted something open that should have been able to settle on its own.
Justas journalism has its great writers, I believe the blogging profession does, too. Except one seems to not hear from them as often as the bad apples who enjoy sensationalism. During the Iraq war, there were plenty of bloggers who were writing about the war, but when it came time to criticize John Kerry and his so-called war exploits, there were critics coming out of every corner. Like cockroaches, they feasted on the artificial darkness created by those who swim in the deep coves of negativity.
Bloggers shoudl be concentrating on the positive of John Kerry. Write about his health care plans or his ideas on bringing the economy back. Not on his war recod. Not that he voted for the war. Because you know what, George Busg had a lot of people pushing congress and the senate to get that war idea through. A lot of facts were deliberately left out so not everyone got a clear picture. But the bloggers and critics kept harping on Kerry flip-flopping. It was the critics and bloggers who should have done more digging to see what the problems were. Instead, they took George Bush and Don Cheney's word for everything.
Journalists are suposed to check the facts. Not just go out and print words. There is a lack of ethical standards when just blogging for the sake of blogging. Blogging can be a good thing if policies and facts were not disregarded.
Done right, blogging could help journalism rise to a new level. But the needs of the people have to be met. There's no I in team work.
I guess, like everything else int his world, it's better to take the low road. It's easier to travel and it doesn't take much effort to put things out in the media or weblogs. People seem to be gluttons to read negative, acidic and terrible things. Bad news sells. The more uglier you are, the better it is.
Media always has to answer for its ideas, thinking and other activites. A blogger doesn't have to. It's great when a blogger can go out and publish something in the name of freedom. It's something a professional journalist can't do. But bloggers are creating a world for which they have to live in. and answer to others for. What about the life in WikiComunities or the role of the WikiManager. These will both be affected on how the blogegr operates in society. If bloggers don't play by the rules, weblogs will be a joke and be dissolved.
Bloggers are sort of like philosophers, but right now the blogging world is looking like a very scarey place instead of the valuable technological communication highway it was built to be.


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