This morning's DP
contained an editorial
from Marie Cocco about the unreliability of blogs and their ability to deliver news.
Some snippets in italics with my comments:In blogs we don't trust...
Of course you don't, then you'd be out of a job.The blog fetish may have reached its height during Rathergate, the imbroglio over the airing in September 2004 of a "60 Minutes II" story purporting to show that President Bush got preferential treatment when he landed a coveted spot in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. The trashing of CBS News anchorman Dan Rather and his subsequent hasty retirement were seen as the ultimate triumph of the bloggers, predominantly on the political right, who gleefully proclaimed that the documents "60 Minutes II" relied upon for the special-treatment allegation were forged.
In truth, an exhaustive investigation led by former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, a Republican, and former Associated Press president Lou Boccardi found that no definitive conclusion could be reached about whether the documents were authentic or not.
The fact is that there was no conclusion that they were real. Without the bloggers, no one watching this would have given a second thought to the fact they might be fake. As Marie points out later, Americans trust traditional news sources, but this little incident illustrates that maybe they shouldn't be so trusting.But never mind. The power of the blogs was confirmed, a development that stunned the mainstream press and impressed the political left - which of course decided that it, too, had to embrace the blogs or be undone by them...
I guess Marie wasn't talking to fellow lefty Chris Bowers
who recently proclaimed, "The right-wing blogosphere is dead. Long live the progressive blogosphere."Blogs are, in fact, the least trusted news source, according to data compiled by Consumer Reports and published in the latest study of the news media conducted by the Project for Excellence in Journalism. Only 12 percent of those surveyed about trust in various media outlets said they believe what they read in blogs all or most of the time
I tried to find the demographic data for this survey
, but was unable to. It may be there, but I didn't have the time. I am a little suspicious of a survey defending traditional journalism done by an organization that promotes traditional journalism.Like all of us in this business, the journalism project is trying to figure out why the newspaper industry is declining, and why no one seems to care much anymore about the difference between original reporting and the mere rehashing - with a passionately partisan spin - that passes for journalism in the blogs and often on cable television. It turns out that, just as the people are often way ahead of politicians in their thinking, so are consumers of news way ahead of a journalistic chattering class newly obsessed with competing on a playing field - the blogosphere - that perhaps it shouldn't set its fact-checking foot upon.
Yes, people increasingly are reading their news on the Internet.
The newspaper business is declining because, regardless of what your survey says, they are tired of hearing the same "journalistic chattering class" chattering from the same DNC talking points.
Bloggers provide the watchdog for the press, just as the press proclaims itself the watchdog of the government. They check the checkers.But few pajama-clad bloggers were seen wading through hip-deep water in New Orleans to cover the perils wrought by Hurricane Katrina in the way that mainstream reporters and camera crews did. They generally aren't eager to be bivouacked in Baghdad, either.
I admit that I do no reporting when I blog. I only comment on what I see in the press and try to aggregate several sources to back-up my opinion.
However, to say that there are no bloggers going where reporters dare to tread is blatantly false. Josh Britton
blogged live during Katrina from the disaster area. Michael Yon
showed us what it was like to be in a firefight in Mosul, Iraq.The mainstream media may have lost some of the trust it enjoyed in years past. But imitating those who are trusted even less surely won't earn it back.
The trust gets lost when the NYT
has to correct inaccuracies like this one
and this one
One blog alone may not have all the accurate information, but it is the collection of information and opinion in the free market of ideas that gives us a clearer view of the truth than through traditional news sources alone.