Thursday, March 30, 2006

Deep thoughts from the Globe and Mail.

Russell has opinions:

Demeaning discourse: how bloggers lower the tone

Dear Russell: Bite me.

LET ME EXPAND ON THAT: It didn't seem worth investing a lot of time in disemboweling Russell's ridiculous swill since his article wasn't available online but -- what the heck -- if Dave over at TGB can do it, so can I. My God, where to even begin? Hey, how about here?

Want to make your newspaper article/television report cooler? Mention blogs and bloggers.

Or here's another suggestion, Russell: write something worth reading. Now that would be cool. Give it a shot, you might be surprised.

Sadly, Russell sets the tone early:

We know that blogs have the advantage of speed. News and rumours (more likely the latter) ...

Ooooooh. Meow. Somebody clearly took a whiz in Russell's Wheaties that morning. Onward:

More importantly, they are a forum for "alternative" voices, usually cranky ones ...

OK, Russ, let me explain this to you. Just because that cute female blogger at the bar told you to take a hike, it doesn't mean that all bloggers are cranky, anti-social jerks. She just wasn't into you, dude. (And, as a pre-emptive bit of advice, she wasn't a lesbian, either. You're just a jerk.)

Moving on, here's another bit of Russ's eye-rolling analysis:

And so CNN now has a regular blog roundup, in which Internet opinions from the right and the left on the day's issues are summarized with meticulous balance. The opinions -- Democrats say x, Republicans say y -- are so predictable as to be uninteresting.

As opposed to how the "mainstream media" does it, which is ... how exactly? If there's one thing that defines the MSM, it's the ubiquity of "he says, she says" journalism. "Candidate John Simth today accused his opponent Fred Brown of being part of a Satanic cult and having sex with diseased goats and Iraqi war orphans. Brown angrily denied the charges."

Yeah, that's deep shit, Russ. Some of us, when presented with conflicting claims in a newspaper article, really wish the reporter had done a bit more work to tell us which of the claims is actually based on reality. You know, like when the Liberals and the CPC will make howlingly contradictory claims about, say, a budget issue and you and your colleagues will obediently and uncritically report both those claims. That's not being a journalist, Russ -- it's being an overpaid stenographer. And if you keep that sort of thing up long enough, well, you tend to get stuck with an uncomplimentary nickname.

And if you do actually take the time to dig into the story, well, you're not just a reporter any more, you're an "investigatve journalist." That's hilarious -- as if doing actual investigative work requires a special kind of reporter. "I'm sorry, I'm just a regular journalist. I don't do investigation."

But perhaps the most grating bit of Russ's rubbish (and, God, there is so much of it that one has to be selective about what to eviscerate) is that bloggers have somehow cheapened and coarsened the discourse. To which one can legitimately respond: Fuck you, Russ, you sophomoric little twerp. No, wait, that's unfair.

To which one can legitimately respond, dude, the discourse was coarsened long before we bloggers got here. Or don't you watch Fox News? And when it comes to bloggers and civil discourse, it really grinds my gears that Russ doesn't even vaguely distinguish between the left and right blogospheres. Trust me, if you need vile, loathsome and dishonest, just check out any of the big-name right-wing blogs -- Michelle Malkin, Free Republic, Blogging Tories .., oh, there's no end of wretched, conservative swill out there in Blogworld. But apparently trying to distinguish between the two worlds was a bit much for poor Russ.

One could go on and on and, God help us, tediously on, ripping Russ a new one, but what's the point? I'm just amused by someone who takes the time to attack bloggers from his perch at the Globe and Mail, then doesn't make his article available online so we could go after him in return.

So here's my challenge to you, Russ: convince your editors to make that article freely available online. If you want to bitch and whine childishly (and dishonestly) about all of us nasty bloggers, then at least give us the chance to return fire. That would be the honourable thing to do, don't you think?


Declan said...

Yeah, that was my initial reaction as well. But I guess if thousands of people were out there proving how cushy my job is by doing it for free (and doing it better than me) I'd be testy as well.

Another funny thing is that, if you read his column, most of the time he is criticizing the media, not bloggers.

He complains about how CNN rounds bloggers up into their usual banal he said/she said format.

"CNN now has a regular blog roundup, in which Internet opinions from the right and the left on the day's issues are summarized with meticulous balance. The opinions -- Democrats say x, Republicans say y -- are so predictable as to be uninteresting."

He complains that the media only pays attention to the vitrioloc blogs.

"the nastier and angrier you are, the more entertaining you are, and the more likely you are to be read and commented on in the loathed and coveted MSM."

He takes a shot at media outlets like the Globe which allow comments on their articles - many of which are informed, stupid and hateful (the comments, not the articles)

"It takes about five entries in any on-line forum before a troll starts throwing insults at his opponents, and then it's a group hate."

He criticizes his own column, quoting 4 paragraphs worth of criticism from some study complaining that "political opinion blogs" are not the same thing as journalists only to then turn around and say,

"Okay, so what? We read blogs just as we read non-journalistic opinion columns such as this one: for a personal opinion and a personal voice."

He criticizes mainstream media bloggers like Cosh and Wells who don't allow comments,

"The best of the blogs are of course all about conversation"

He criticizes the media's unwillingness to provide people with links so they can follow up on things for themselves (like in his own column where he quotes two studies, but doesn't link to either),

"The report also noted that any conventional sense of sourcing was missing from many discussions."

He acknowledges how blogs are superior to mainstream media organs because,

"the Internet itself could be a great facilitator in classless, borderless discussion."

And finally, he criticizes the media for misinterpreting the role of blogging and bloggers,

" as it stands, it's [the internet] not quite as useful a source of "authenticity" as the MSM seems to want to make it."

It's a good thing iI'm a blogger and not in the MSM, or I'd be offended.

the wrestler said...


You might want to read Russell Smith's recent column on undershirts. In all honesty, his dissection of the world of undershirts, their quality, what to look for in undershirts, and especially the place of undershirts in society -- was far better than any amateur blogger could do.

Give props where they are do. His professionalism in regards to undershirts is truly unassailable.