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December 28, 2005

Bloggers: A Growing Peril

A shrill attack on bloggers. Indeed, Ms. Parker, we are a "growing peril."

Tom Cruise isn't worried about Hollywood moving productions to Canada or Eastern Europe. It's the lighting guys and boom-mike-guys who are worried.

Bloggers are not a threat to, say, Brian Williams, but we most definitely are a threat to those on the lowest rungs of the media ladder. Like yourself. No offense.

She's a low-ranking member of the guild, so darnit, she's going to defend that guild to the hilt. She worked to hard to (barely) get in it.

And if you think I'm being unfair, read this screed.

Not since the birth of the printing press have our lives been so dramatically affected by the way we create and consume information - both to our enormous benefit and, perhaps, to our growing peril.

...

It is... our new enemies - that interests me most. I don't mean al-Qaida or Osama bin Laden, but the less visible, insidious enemies of decency, humanity and civility - the angry offspring of narcissism's quickie marriage to instant gratification.

"Our new enemies." Bloggers and blog readers, she means. But wait for it-- she's about to babble about bloggers writing screechy, screedy, nasty rants.

There's something frankly creepy about the explosion we now call the Blogosphere....

Although I've been a blog fan since the beginning, and have written favorably about the value added to journalism and public knowledge thanks to the new "citizen journalist," I'm also wary of power untempered by restraint and accountability.

Say what you will about the so-called mainstream media, but no industry agonizes more about how to improve its product, police its own members and better serve its communities. Newspapers are filled with carpal-tunneled wretches, overworked and underpaid, who suffer near-pathological allegiance to getting it right.

I've got nothing to add to that, except a pause. A pause filled with venomous silent sarcasm.

...

[BLoggers] hold the same megaphone as the adults and enjoy perceived credibility owing to membership in the larger world of blog grown-ups. These effete and often clever baby "bloggies" are rich in time and toys, but bereft of adult supervision. Spoiled and undisciplined, they have grabbed the mike and seized the stage, a privilege granted not by years in the trenches, but by virtue of a three-pronged plug and the miracle of WiFi.

They play tag team with hyperlinks ("I'll say you're important if you'll say I'm important) and shriek "Gotcha!" when they catch some weary wage earner in a mistake or oversight. Plenty smart but lacking in wisdom, they possess the power of a forum, but neither the maturity nor humility that years of experience impose.

Umm, we play tag-team with hyperlinks?

But I love how someone who thinks she's part of the media is all upset because we cry "Gotcha!" when we catch the press in a mistake or, our favorite, deliberate dishonesty or the covering up of a mistake.

Ms. Parker-- this is precisely what the media does to every other occupation on earth. Why should reporters be immune from the same treatment?

It is famously difficult to convict a lawyer of malpractice; much easier to convict a doctor, accountant, or financial advisor of malpractice. Why? Well, duh: Lawyers look out for their own. Lawyers can sue everyone on earth for malpractice, but just trying to get one of them for that. Much more difficult, by design.

They're above the malpractice rules, pretty much.

And Ms. Parker similarly believes our nasty, preening, mistake-prone and frequently dishonest "Gotcha!" press should be shielded from their own "Gotcha!" paybacks.

...

What Golding demonstrated [in Lord of the Flies]- and what we're witnessing as the Blogosphere's offspring multiply - is that people tend to abuse power when it is unearned and will bring down others to enhance themselves.

Sort of like the media.

Likewise, many bloggers seek the destruction of others for their own self-aggrandizement.

Sort of like the media.

When a mainstream journalist stumbles, they pile on like so many savages, hoisting his or her head on a bloody stick as Golding's children did the fly-covered head of a butchered sow.

Sort of like the media did when Michael Brown stumbled. Or Harriet Miers. Or any one of a thousand other victims of the MSM pigpile.

Schadenfreude - pleasure in others' misfortunes - has become the new barbarity on an island called Blog. When someone trips, whether Dan Rather or Eason Jordan or Judith Miller, bloggers are the bloodthirsty masses slavering for a public flogging. Incivility is their weapon and humanity their victim.

I think it was Michelle Cotelle who said on a talk show a few weeks back that what really gets the media salivating for blood is hypocrisy and dishonesty. Well, we're the same, Ms. Parker. Except we get excited when we catch your buddies in hypocrisy and dishonesty -- and you just don't like that the same treatment you give to everyone else is being inflicted now on you.

"Humanity their victim." I always knew I was incivil, but I really didn't ever imagine I was victimizing humanity.

...

We can't silence them, but for civilization's sake - and the integrity of information by which we all live or die - we can and should ignore them.

I've had to cut out a lot to comply with fair-use laws, but she gets in a lot of screedy insults that I didn't quote.

Sort of like a blogger, actually.

Ms. Parker, incivility is your weapon, and humanity your victim.


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posted by Ace at 11:15 PM

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