Thursday, December 21, 2006

The WSJ Kinda Gets It

The Blog Mob "Written by fools to be read by imbeciles," on WSJ Opinion Journal 12/20/06 has some pretty good points to make about Bloggers. Mr Raggo has a pretty poor opinion of their reportage, probably justified, although some, like "Loaded Orygun" sometimes not only get there first, but also best. Regarding commentary he notes: (critics of ) "Blogs, they say, tend to disinhibit. Maybe so. But politics weren't much rarefied when Andrew Jackson was president, either." That's not the problem, just that most of the writing is awful. I love this, "Every conceivable belief is on the scene, but the collective prose, by and large, is homogeneous: A tone of careless informality prevails; posts oscillate between the uselessly brief and the uselessly logorrheic; complexity and complication are eschewed; the humor is cringe-making, with irony present only in its conspicuous absence; arguments are solipsistic; writers traffic more in pronouncement than persuasion . . ." I am insufficiently self-critical to determine if that refers to me. There are Bloggers whose prose I really admire, but I do agree quality is uneven, but I will note that the pay is even worse. I personally am willing to give up some word-smithing ability for the diversity of opinion, free doesn't make it better, but it sure means voices with no other outlet can be heard. No, stupidity is no bar to getting published on the net, but you can take note of some stupidity I've chronicled from very well paid Editors in print.

He does make the point that the interconnectedness doesn't create dialogue, that it is particularly good at connecting those in agreement and this is generally true. Frequently cross connections tend to be insulting and dismissive or just don't happen - very seldom is there an actual dialogue. He strays off into lala land when he gets hung up on "immediacy" of comment, he seems to believe that opinions are consistently formed at the time of posting, as though Bloggers have no memory or historical back grounding. This is plain conceit, I would suggest that in the case of WSJ memory failure is the constant.

I would be seriously dismayed to see print & MSM in general displaced by Blogs, they have the money muscle to do serious reporting and research, we do piggyback on them. They have the capital investments to make slander and other improprieties fiscally stupid. As for a historical record of the period, they are nearly irreplaceable. This is all fine and good, but it also doesn't devalue blogs, though we may over estimate our impact.

I make no pretence to be a journalist, my header states that this is about commentary and advocacy. I try to entertain a little, jog some additional thinking, give some validation, and mostly - have my say.

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