Blogs of BVD-clad amateur journalists
There is a growing and disturbing movement in the media for a new freedom that promotes the idea that whoever covers news, and believes they are journalists without credentials, can and should be their own editor, writing and saying what he pleases in his self-created Web log [and also arbitrarily censoring comments from those who disagree with him]. Everywhere I turn, those who call themselves serious journalists, some even using that grand and old fashioned phrase, the press, are assaulting us with the virtues of this new-found freedom. Thus, blog, the shortened version, is now the latest gobbledygook noun in the English language. Lewis Carroll would be proud.
. . . .A major problem is bloggers who run items with no sources. When they cite sources, they are so tenuous as to make you pass Go and return the $200. When caught, the blog will sometimes print retractions quickly [a BVD-clad blogger is likely to just delete the comment that pointed out the error]. The problem is that the readers have become so undiscerning it makes no difference [Fatheaded Ed Brayton's fans are a good example]. As quickly as an item is found wrong and as quickly as the blog runs a correction, another rises to take its place. Accuracy has no place on many blogs.(bracketed comments are mine)
The notion that blogs have obsoleted the traditional news media is typified by a stupid book titled, "We're All Journalists Now: The Transformation of the Press and Reshaping of the Law in the Internet Age," by Scott Gant.
Carolynne Burkholder wrote,
. . . . bloggers’ claims that they are the true citizen-journalists and that they can self-correct their errors is questioned by journalists and ethicists as self-serving rhetoric. Critics note cases where rumours were circulated by blogs and they were not proven to be false until much damage had been done to the reputation of career of a person or group. Self-correction by blogs is an imperfect process [and is made even more imperfect by the arbitrary censorship of comments]. Other critics accuse blogs of hypocrisy by claiming they believe in accuracy but they do not believe in editorial controls on postings prior to publication [BVD-clad bloggers also do not believe in any controls after publication]. Bloggers are also accused of wanting freedom without responsibility -- of reaching thousands of readers but rejecting calls for ethical codes and standards.(emphasis added; bracketed comments are mine)
And one of those "ethical codes and standards" that BVD-clad bloggers are rejecting is, of course, a rule against arbitrary censorship of blog visitors' comments. And, of course, this arbitrary censorship not only impacts factual accuracy but also impacts fairness in the presentation of opinions.
Labels: Internet censorship (new #3)