Biting the hand that flacks me

With all the ways people are using the internet after Katrina — for news, relief, advice, finding the missing (covered incompletely here), even getting rescued – – what angle does The Times Monday online column choose to cover: nutjobs, racists, and religious kooks and Katrina. Yes, I come to believe that there is an agenda at work: the old trying to belittle the new.

  • I think it’s important to them to emphasize the fringe as a way of saying: that’s what we edit out. Recently I summarized the top five “old media reacts to new” story lines.

    * Blogs depend on the raw information developed by the major media, they’re parasitic, so what are you talking about?

    * Blog are just some guy’s opinion– op-ed, not hard news. How many do any real reporting?

    * “Yeah, but where are the ethics? Where are the standards? How do you know what you’re reading? There are a lot of shady operators on the Internet, Jay. How can you trust it?”

    * Bloggers won’t take over. They can’t afford foreign bureaus and hotel rooms and air tickets for reporters. Do you know how much it costs to have a correspondent in Baghdad?

    * We’re starting a blog soon. In fact there’s going to be several in the newsroom. Do you have any suggestions? What should we blog about?

  • Every single time I am interviewed in the local media, the last question has to do with the ethics and reliability of blogs as a source of news. Was I that predictable when I was a reporter? Probably. Is there an agenda? No. I think that journalism has become so standardized in presentation and training that it’s inevitible that they all look for the same thing.

  • The article left out other key aspects of blogs:

    * None of us care a whit about facts or research. (While true of me, still a fallacy for most)
    * We can’t be of any help during a local emergency. (See: NA Eddie Fritts’s infamous 2004 speech at NAB.)
    * Our belief that Dan Rather is the root of all evil.
    * Our constant wearing of pajamas.

  • Outside of the occasional “token blogger”, MSM has the traditional view of any entrenched organization. Protect aging assets against the effects of change.

    The aging assets are not just old style presses but old-style journalists as well. Obsolete machinery and obsolete thinking have little value in tioday’s marketplaces. Reinvention is not a fad. It is a virtual necessity.

    It is easier to upgrade machinery than it is to unfreeze an ossified mindset. I wonder if media companies realize how they telegraph their weaknesses with these revelatory attacks on new ideas and technology. If I were an investor, I would run, not walk, away from investing in companies with such antediluvian thinking.

    Great article, as usual.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Put aside the hilarity of the MSM questioning anyone else’s ethics or integrity.

    Recently I had another Luddite ask me what a blog was, after I answered he proceeded to effuse more ignorance by claiming the tired canard of the internet’s lack of standards/ethics, etc. Yet a second earlier, he couldn’t even define a blog and he had obviously never read one.

    I told him the analogy was ebay. Only a few years ago, the doubters said that no one would buy anything from an unknown seller over the internet. But trying to explain this stuff to a Luddite is like introducing calculus to a kindergarten class.

    The MSM is scared to death of blogs, as they should be. When did leftists eliminate “free speech” from their platform?

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  • David

    Most of the MSMedia is doing a great job covering the hurricane but what does the blog daddy choose to cover…

    *yawn* these old media vs. new media postings are getting as boring as your dell hell stories. Five years from now you bloggers will still be a fringe group spending most of its time picking apart stories reported by the MSM.

  • You hit it right on the nose. Great post.

  • Because the poor internet gets practically no play in the mainstream media as is…

  • Actually, it’s a very old story that goes back to the 20’s, at least. Gwenyth L Jackaway’s book “Media at War” goes into the conflicts between newspapers and radio in that period. Few people know that in 1933 the new services stopped providing services to the radio networks, but it happened.

    Dr. Jackaway and I discussed this – and the implications for the Internet – back in the mid ’90s. What we’re seeing now with blogs is the emergence of a new wave of that continuing conflict. It builds on the Internet scare stories promulgated (largely by television) in the 1996-2000 time frame.

    So it’s really another chapter in an old story.

  • All is not lost, as the NYT has spotted good Christians responding. Oh, BTW, they’re “left-leaning”.

    The writer probably didn’t spend too much time at the font of all looniness, aka DU. They’re normal.

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  • Responsible journalism, no. Entertaining? Yes.

  • Girard

    Why should blogs be any different? The print media has always claimed the intellectual high ground. Do a search and see how print media stereotypes talk radio “right wing blather”, FM music radio “boring, repetitive”, prime time TV “inane”, and even basic cable TV “stupid and pandering”. The print media is in competition with you so they will always poke at your open wounds with a stick. Just keep poking back and you’ll be fine.

  • owl 1

    Responsible journalism? You are kidding.

    The poor job the so called MSM did over Katrina may have elevated them to themselves and all the millions that scan the news but never dig. They deserve a big fat F-. But of course they do not realize it because of the herd mentality.

    A reporter would have noticed that the people in the Dome needed food and water and instead of standing out there crying, would have hied up the road to find it. Would have asked where it was. Would have asked the Red Cross why they did not bring it. Would have asked the Gov why she didn’t get some school buses on the road to go get those people.

    Give me a break. Professional journalists? Standing in the same spot day after day?

  • Sometimes a banana is just a banana.

    If you interpret each story of this type as an attempt to belittle blogs you are going to a) go paranoid or become exhuasted as you find citation
    after citation that fits your model and b) your students will become the new troops echoing the old media vs new media litany.

    Owl, how do you know reporters didn’t do exactly that?