Monday, May 09, 2005

Blogs vs. MSM

The discussion of the conflict or competition between blogs and the Mainstream Media has been raging in both for over a year now. In the New York Times Adam Cohen argues that there should be code of ethics for bloggers as there is for journalists. He argues that since Dan Rather and Eason Jordan were in effect driven out of their jobs by bloggers for violating standards, the bloggers should be held to similar standards. The problem with this arguement from within the flagship of the MSM is that it sounds like they are trying to curtail this new form of communication ignoring the fact that their own standards did nothing to identify or punish violaters such as Dan Rather. If not for the blogs, noone would have seriously questioned that story. Not because they all wanted Bush to lose and Kerry to win, but because Rather and 60 Minutes are icons and the danger in going after icons is extreme and more than likely no one would have dared. I am a big believer in high standards for people, especially in areas where they claim some degree of professionalism. The issues however, are rather broad.

What these ethical standards are is somewhat difficult to define and who they apply to is equally murky. Should this blog, read by maybe a dozen people who all know me personally be held to the same standards as Wonkette or Daily Kos or Instapundit, each of whom have thousands of daily readers.

Even then, generally, blogs and the news media do different things. Blogs are more like the editorial page of the newspaper, a page which historically has had the least connection to journalistic ethics and more to political ideology than the rest of the paper. Bloggers, like me, comment on the world around them rather than reporting news. The expression of opinion is fundamentally different than reporting the news. This issue has traction within the MSM largely because they are uncomfortable with people suggesting that the way they are doing their jobs is less than professional. Rather than attacking bloggers, perhaps they should instead try and do their jobs better which would obviate this issue all together.


Blogger Stephalupogus said...

What articles are you looking at? I did a quick search and the variety is a bit too broad for me to have an idea what you are looking at. Any chance of a list?

1:28 PM  

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