The blogging two-step

by Henry on December 30, 2004

The perennial issue of mainstream media bias and the superiority of blogs is undergoing a minor revival in the right wing blogosphere at the moment, much of it centered on a column by Nick Coleman of the Star-Tribune, which has the temerity to take on PowerLine. Coleman’s effort to “fact-check” the factcheckers is rather weak, but his main point is hard to refute – it’s a bit rich for slavering right wing hacks to accuse the mainstream media of ideological bias and expect to get taken seriously. On which, see further Matt Welch’s entertaining takedown of Hugh Hewitt. There’s a curious sort of doublethink going on here, which culminates in a sort of dodge-the-responsibility two-step. On the one hand, bloggers like Glenn Reynolds respond to their critics by saying that they can’t cover everything, and that they’re not providing a news service, only opinions. On the other hand, they seem to believe that blogs should radically change or replace the mainstream media. Either of these statements is reasonable enough on its own,[1] but taken in conjunction, they’re pretty jarring. If you think that blogs should replace the mainstream media, then you should be prepared yourself to live up to some minimal standards of scrupulosity, intellectual honesty, and willingness to deal fairly with facts that are uncomfortable for your own ideological position. You should be prepared to live up yourself to the standards that you demand of others. Exercising the “shucks, I’m just a little old blogger” get-out clause is rank hypocrisy when you want the blogosphere to devour the New York Times whole. Funny that Reynolds et al. don’t see it that way.

Update: Glenn Reynolds responds to my post in a characteristically evasive fashion. He weirdly mischaracterizes my argument by saying that I conflate “InstaPundit with the blogosphere as a whole, by suggesting that my statement that InstaPundit is not a news service somehow means that the blogosphere isn’t up to news-gathering.” I don’t know where he gets that, but it allows him to duck the main point – whether bloggers like Reynolds are being hypocritical in criticizing other media for bias. Let me explain it again in plain, simple, English. Glenn Reynolds complains regularly about liberal bias in the media. He says that he doesn’t believe that blogs should replace big media, but that they should pressure big media to do a better job; I’ll accept his characterization of his own views, although he’s certainly given a different impression in the past. But even on this more limited definition, bloggers like Reynolds are being hypocritical – they don’t and won’t practice what they preach. If I understand his argument correctly (it’s somewhat unclear to me exactly what he’s saying), he seems to think that this is OK because the blogosphere is a big place, and that stories are going to come out no matter what (no blogger can block them). This is an abdication of responsibility, pure and simple, and it’s also factually incorrect. Blogs like Instapundit on the right and Atrios on the left, serve an important function as filters of news, both for other bloggers (who read the big bloggers disproportionately) and for outside readers (who tend to gravitate towards the big blogs that everyone has heard about). In a very important way, these blogs shape both the political blogosphere’s perception of itself, and outsiders’ perceptions of it (the blogs on the ‘long tail’ usually only come to prominence when one of the bigger blogs picks up on their story). Saying (if that’s what he’s saying) that he doesn’t have any responsibility for what he does or doesn’t post on, because others are going to pick up on important stories anyway, simply doesn’t cut it as an excuse.

Update 2: I come back from my New Years vacation to discover that Glenn Reynolds has responded again, in a further update which is not only evasive but dishonest. He attacks my credibility as a scholar, saying that “it really is going to make it hard for me to take Henry seriously as a scholar of the blogosphere, now that he’s written off half of it so unpleasantly.” That’s a very serious accusation to make – especially when it’s based on the entirely false claim that I’ve written off half (presumably the right half) of the blogosphere. If Reynolds had bothered to check, he’d have found that I’ve been similarly harsh when left wingers have engaged in hackishness. My objection is not to right wing views, or to right wing criticism of the media; it’s to criticism of the media from people like Reynolds who are partisan hacks, whether they come from the right or the left. Mark Kleiman has documented over time Reynolds’ resort to bizarre conspiracy theories, vicious slurs without evidence and unwarranted attacks on the patriotism of those who disagree with him (on this last I’m reminded of Dr. Johnson’s dictum that patriotism is the “last refuge of a scoundrel”). Kleiman concludes with regard to the Kerik scandal, that Reynolds “has no standing whatever to complain about anyone else’s journalistic ethics in this regard”: – I’d broaden that to say that he doesn’t have standing to complain about anyone else’s journalistic standards, period. Or, as Kleiman remarks even more pungently.

Glenn thinks the “liberal media” are employing a “double standard.” Would someone send him a mirror for his birthday, please?

Again, Reynolds ducks the question of whether bloggers should have standards by repeating his hackneyed claim that the media don’t live up to theirs. All this criticism aside, Mr. Reynolds can rest assured that I will continue to take him very seriously as a sociological phenomenon.

In other news, Hugh Hewitt, blogger and author of “If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends on It ,” suggests that I should have admitted that I’d overwritten when I described certain partisan blogs as “slavering rightwing hacks.”

Finally, Jay Rosen makes some criticisms that I take a lot more seriously – I’m willing to accept that there’s a difference that I’ve elided between believing that blogs are ‘winning’ and the mainstream media are ‘losing,’ and the claim that blogs are going to take over the mainstream media (although I still contend that much of the rhetoric suggests the latter rather than the former).

fn1. Indeed, I wholeheartedly agree with the first of these statements – but then I neither want nor expect blogs to replace mainstream news outlets; bloggers would make for lousy reporters.

{ 135 comments }

1

asg 12.30.04 at 8:47 pm

I thought the point Powerline et al. were making was not that the mainstream media is biased, but that it is hypocritical — it trumpets its own adherence to lofty standards, principles of careful reporting, etc., and criticizes bloggers for not having any such standards or principles. But then it turns around and dodges or ignores its own standards when there’s an axe to grind. The Powerline post about the Coleman column was entirely about standards and how the Star-Tribune says it has them but doesn’t really.

2

asg 12.30.04 at 8:58 pm

Also, I don’t see Reynolds and other non-left bloggers as wanting to “devour the New York Times whole.” I think they want mainstream media organizations to change in two ways:

1. Stop pretending that journalism is a hallowed profession requiring as much skill and training as medicine or law, and therefore deserving of guild protections along the lines of apparently serious proposals that blogs and other informal media ought to be regulated in ways that “traditional” media are not;

2. Live up to their own stated standards better; blogs provide this sort of accountability in ways that cannot be emulated by purely internal mechanisms. The forged-memo debacle at CBS shows that (and is still showing that, given the unexplained delays in the final report).

While I don’t doubt that people in the right-wing blogosphere may have bloviated about replacing the NYT or entirely displacing the mainstream media, I think you are misrepresenting the agenda at work.

3

James Joyner 12.30.04 at 9:09 pm

I don’t think Reynolds has ever claimed blogging would replace the MSM as gatherers of information. Indeed, there’s little original reporting going on in the Blogosphere. The best we can hope for, in most cases, is to “fact check their asses,” as the saying goes.

4

Henry 12.30.04 at 9:29 pm

asg ummm … no. A couple of minutes surfing revealed this “Roger Simon”:http://www.rogerlsimon.com/mt-archives/2004/10/prediction.php post predicting that the blogosphere would make mainstream media pay “more than they could imagine” for a Kerry victory, this Belmont Club “claim”:http://belmontclub.blogspot.com/2004/12/scientists-on-things-scientific.html that the fortress of the mainstream media will collapse under the artillery-fire of the blogosphere, Glenn Reynolds’ “claim”:http://instapundit.com/archives/017254.php that the Fourth Estate is “unravelling before our very eyes”, his “enthusiastic assent”:http://instapundit.com/archives/019026.php to Peggy Noonan’s argument that the ‘pajama-clad yeomen of America had taken the mainstream media down, and Hugh Hewitt’s “unified theory”:http://weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/087nhhbq.asp of ‘How 2004 brought doom to legacy media.’ All deeply squirrelly of course – but all claiming in different ways that the bloggers will, and should, take over the role of the MSM. I’m sure that I could find many more if I spent another 10 minutes googling. If these people don’t want the NYT to be devoured whole, and believe that it will be, why are they saying what they are saying? And why shouldn’t they be held to the standards that they demand from others?

5

dipnut 12.30.04 at 9:55 pm

Provide one example where a blogger, busted for a factual error, came back with “hey, what do you want? I’m just a blogger.”

It should be obvious that a disclaimer along the lines of “this isn’t my area of expertise” is better than what we get from Old Media reporters and editorialists, who hold forth unabashedly on subjects they know nothing about. Such a disclaimer is also a kind of request for comment. To the extent that it disclaims responsibility for the assertion in question, it also cedes the voice of authority; which is exactly as it should be.

Blogs will upset Old Media in direct proportion to bloggers’ standards of scrupulousness, etc. The Media types know this, which is why they are so nervous and spiteful. In the climate created by blogs, you get busted for your mistakes whether you’re an executive editor or a zero-page-rank pajamahideen. The resultant upward pressure on standards is proving difficult for the news organizations to take. Forget about partisanship; in this right-wing hack’s opinion, the main problem with Old Media is incompetence.

That’s what’s so laughable about Coleman’s little tizzy: he doesn’t give even one example where Powerline got the story wrong. Whereas, what’s Powerline’s claim to fame?

Regarding your comment: none of those citations you provide say that “bloggers will, and should, take over the role of the MSM”. They only say that bloggers have punctured the credibility and damaged the market share of the news industry. To “take over the role” is something else entirely; it implies that the industry as we know it would cease to exist. Find one blogger claiming such a thing is possible, if you can.

6

Walt Pohl 12.30.04 at 10:03 pm

The right-wing blogosphere has no interest in a media that lives up to objective standards of journalism. They want a media that conforms to their world-view. Why else would the CBS forged memos be the epitome of journalistic failure, and not the New York Times’ credulous reporting of Iraqi WMDs? It’s not about objectivity for these people — it’s about power.

7

Bryant 12.30.04 at 10:07 pm

Ryan over at Dead Parrots has a great post on this subject. (Actually, he has a lot of them; read back in the media post archive page over there for more.) Ryan’s as close to the subject as anyone out there — he’s both a journalist and a blogger, and more important, he’s one of the first newspaper guys in the country to convince his newspaper (the Spokane Spokesman-Review) to make blogging an important part of their offerings.

8

Yuval Rubinstein 12.30.04 at 10:23 pm

Provide one example where a blogger, busted for a factual error, came back with “hey, what do you want? I’m just a blogger.”
Gladly. Back in the heady “early days” of the blogosphere (that would be 2002 for you neophytes), the Bard of Knoxville, citing a specious study, breathlessly exclaimed that Sweden (i.e. socialist hell) was poorer than Mississippi. When a number of lefty bloggers “fact checked his ass,” (or “fisking” as it was annoyingly referred to back then), Instaman meekly responded, and I quote:
“It’s a frickin’ blog, after all. If you don’t like the free ice cream, fine.”
Indeed.

9

Henry 12.30.04 at 10:31 pm

Dipnut – if you want to hold up the factchecking record of, say, Glenn Reynolds against the New York Times, Reynolds is going to lose. The NYT admitted that it got it wrong on WMD; Reynolds has yet (to my knowledge; correct me if I’m wrong) to ‘fess up to his attempts to discredit media reports on how badly things were going pearshaped in Iraq etc etc).As for your claim that none of the citations provided say that bloggers will and should take over the MSM – have you read them? We can argue over the Reynolds and Simon ones perhaps (although see this other “Simon post”:http://www.rogerlsimon.com/mt-archives/2004/08/the_media_stugg.php) but the Hewitt and Belmont Club pieces are quite unambiguous in arguing that blogs are “bringing doom” to mainstream media and replacing reporters respectively. When the Belmont Club says that “instant reporters” mean that

bq. The last bastion of the media has now witnessed the birth of a kind of informational artillery, which while still too weak to overthrow its existing walls, must surely in time grow to such a strength as to render their fortress untenable.

they’re not talking about factchecking the media’s asses, are they.

10

asg 12.30.04 at 10:39 pm

If these people don’t want the NYT to be devoured whole, and believe that it will be, why are they saying what they are saying?

I guess I am not understanding what you mean by “devoured whole.” If you mean a scenario wherein the Times goes bankrupt and shuts down due to its being wholly replaced by internet media, then I think your inferring that from any of the passages you link is just a tad stretched.

But it’s clear that blogs have provided some measure of accountability that was not present before. I think that is what the people you link are talking about (see e.g. the last paragraph of the Hewitt piece you link) and that is why they are saying what they are saying. Specifically they are saying that the mainstream media has lost credibility and influence due to its hypocrisy about standards, and it is the blogosphere which exposed that hypocrisy.

And why shouldn’t they be held to the standards that they demand from others?

The same reason we don’t expect personal injury attorneys to have attended medical school, or Ralph Nader to have attended engineering school, etc. The only reason the blogosphere demands that the mainstream media adhere to a certain set of standards is because those are the standards the mainstream media has set for itself. (The lawyers example is a bad one, now that I think of it, because of course in the U.S. lawyers have very little compunction about setting standards for others while being very lax about policing themselves. But you get my point.)

11

asg 12.30.04 at 10:56 pm

Yuval,

FYI, when I google “frickin’ blog” site:instapundit.com, I get no hits. Could you please provide a link or a Google string substantiating the Instapundit quote that you strongly imply is not a paraphrase?

I also googled “free ice cream” site:instapundit.com, and the quote you appear to be referring to runs as follows:

“I also notice that a lot of people who complain about links don’t say that the thing I linked to is false, exactly, but essentially say that if I agreed with them about some other underlying issue I’d view it differently. Uh, okay, but that doesn’t constitute negligence or dishonesty on my part — just a different set of preconceptions. It’s a blog — my blog, actually — and you get to see things through my viewpoint. If you don’t like this particular brand of free ice cream, there are plenty of others out there, and some of them at any given moment are moaning loudly that no one pays attention to them. But that’s a topic for another post.”

Instapundit does not seem to be conceding much in this post (there is more to it than what I quote above). Perhaps that is why the maxspeak.org post you do link fails to substantiate his statement that “Subsequently [Instapundit] conceded, grudgingly, that [the statement that Sweden is poorer than Mississippi] was untrue” — I was unable to find any such concession, but I didn’t look very hard). I confess I am unpersuaded by your example. Perhaps you could provide another, less ambiguous one?

12

Grant 12.30.04 at 10:59 pm

Here’s one that involved CT. After barking that Cruz Bustamante was a racist and a homophobe based on an erroneous web link, Glenn blamed the error on cough syrup. He then went on to say:

[H]ere’s a post by David Neiwert defending Bustamante, just in case you’re interested. Flatteringly, he seems to think that I’m more influential than Fox News, though that in itself may undercut his credibility.

YET MORE: Now Neiwert is mad at me for “knocking his credibility.” Sheesh. I just thought it was funny that he was putting me in the context of Big Media.

13

grant 12.30.04 at 11:13 pm

And asg, the quote you’re looking for is not on Instapundit; in on the site Yuval linked.

14

Russkie 12.30.04 at 11:21 pm

asg has already made what seems to be the crucial point – that even the most triumphalist of mainstream righty blogs only seek to improve the MSM (and not replace it).

People should also be prepared to distinguish clear errors of fact (which Instapundit et. al. are generally more ready to admit than the MSM) from issues that involve some kind of judgment call (eg. how well things are going in Iraq).

I’m trying to understand how Henry’s argument is supposed to apply to the rightwing blogosphere but not the lefty blogs. If a liberal blog assails FoxNews, is it then “rich” for them to “accuse the mainstream media of ideological bias and expect to get taken seriously”?

15

asg 12.30.04 at 11:24 pm

Incidentally (and I apologize for the number of my comments; I try not to rattle on so much in general), even if Yuval’s example were accurate, the point dipnut is making is that a blogger who adopted such a cavalier attitude about the accuracy of his posts would lose credibility and therefore readers (and, by implication, bloggers do hold themselves to higher standards than the recent mainstream media criticism of bloggers suggests).

All but the most hyper-partisan blogs, with the most crazed readerships (who won’t lose readers no matter what they say, provided they toe a particular ideological line), would do as Instapundit does in the link provided by grant — when challenged, take the opportunity to post lots of links to both sides, confess error, etc. Incidentally, I also find grant’s link unconvincing as an example of cavalier dismissal of unambiguously-demonstrated error, since in that post Instapundit says:

And I think I’ve gone out of my way to link to, and quote, people who say Bustamante and MEChA aren’t racist. I just don’t find them persuasive, and I think that Newert would call any white politician who talked about race the way they do a racist.

It’s clear Instapundit (a) stands by his point and (b) admits but does not excuse his earlier (minor) error of equating Aztlan with MeCHA.

It seems to me that this is precisely what’s good about blogs; they provide a medium that’s uniquely suited to instant back-and-forth and debate, with the opportunity to admit and correct errors immediately and prominently. Yet of course no blogger HAS to do these things; if a blogger wants to run his site like a news program, with no talk-back or responses to criticisms, he can do so. Old media doesn’t really work that way.

16

Bucky 12.30.04 at 11:33 pm

asg-
1. Stop pretending that journalism is a hallowed profession requiring as much skill and training as medicine or law, and therefore deserving of guild protections along the lines of…
Whatever hallow once clung to medicine and the law in the US they’ve long since become as tarnished as the film or insurance industries. What medicine especially had, and still has in the rank and file below the bureaucratic suck, is dedication. There were and still are people whose professional lives are dedicated to healing, and the same corruption that’s tarnished medicine as a profession has hampered their ability to live out that dedication. They need protection from the greed that sees the willingness of medical consumers to pay any price as fair game.
Journalists have a parallel history in many ways. And the dedication that’s so admirable in medical professionals is what makes journalistic integirty a mark of bravery.
The law is too thick a subject for this post.

2. Live up to their own stated standards better; blogs provide this sort of accountability in ways that cannot be emulated by purely internal mechanisms. The forged-memo debacle at CBS shows that…
Blogs are atomized, pixels rather than a screen. It increases the likelihood of the truth existing somewhere online, though it substantially decreases easy access to full-system, vetted news. Our idea of what that is was shaped by the networks early on, and since. The pyramid hierarchy of authority in the networks now means apex-oriented values, moral and professional.
In a conflict the big orifices are going to protect the interests of the decision-makers.
In an atomized system that won’t happen.
It’s laughable that Rather’s “Kenneth-what’s-the-frequency”-redux is pointed to as journalistic standards in action, while CNN and the old-guard networks and Murdoch’s lickspittle Fox spray a mist of inane nonsense night and day.
It’s not that people can trust corporate news to give them pertinent truth, it’s that they can trust corporate news to sacrifice pertinent truth for self-interest every time. This is incredibly comforting to the majority of consumers now, because it harmonizes with their own clamorous greed; albeit not so comforting to the rest of us.

17

asg 12.30.04 at 11:38 pm

Grant –

Thanks for the correction. Here’s the full quote (at http://maxspeak.org/gm/archives/00000456.html):

Well, you can criticize my links if you want; that’s your privilege. But I’ve linked to people who’ve criticized these points, too — including this post — so that readers can make up their minds. I make a point of doing that, unless the criticism is profane or an obvious troll.

It’s also funny what upsets people. For example, I had a brief link to an interview with Nick Cook in the Atlantic, where he talks about allegedly secret antigravity research. I said I was skeptical (which I regarded as obvious understatement), but I’ve gotten a lot of really nasty hatemail for even linking it. I find that people often read more into a link than I mean by putting it there, but that’s life. It’s a frickin’ blog, after all. If you don’t like the free ice cream, fine.

I leave it to you to decide whether Yuval’s earlier comment accurately represented the context & meaning of the quote (NB that the quote is a comment left by Reynolds on another blog, not a post on his own… this seems relevant to me; perhaps someone else can articulate why it is or isn’t).

18

George 12.30.04 at 11:39 pm

Just to play devil’s advocate (while not defending anybody whose faults could be used against me):

The argument in favor of the blogosphere over the mainstream media is not that any given blogger is smarter or better informed than any given reporter. (Though that’s often true in the specific.) Rather, it’s that on any given subject, the blogosphere is better at locating the relevant expert and bringing him/her to public attention. If there are competing claims, each side will produce its own experts and everybody can decide for themselves. Haven’t you all noticed that whenever some print or TV journalist examines a subject about which you happen to know a lot, they almost invariably get it wrong?

That’s just accuracy, which is separate and apart from blogs’ relative advantages in other areas.

19

Henry 12.30.04 at 11:57 pm

Russkie – re: the argument that “even the most triumphalist of mainstream righty blogs only seek to improve the MSM (and not replace it).” see my comment above (and esp. the quote from the Belmont club; if you can convince me that this isn’t a claim that bloggers are going to replace the media, I’ll be impressed). As stated in the post, the hypocrisy comes from the claim that blogs can in some way replace the media – if there are partisan leftwing bloggers out there assailing Fox News for bias and simultaneously claiming that they would provide a better alternative then I’d agree that they’re hypocrites (I’d like to know who they are though). Finally, where’s the judgement call on the developments in Iraq this year? The mainstream media reported, correctly, that Iraq was going to hell in a handbasket. Glenn Reynolds insisted that they had it wrong, that eyewitnesses on the ground made it clear that Iraq was doing well, “impossibly cute kitten stories”:http://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/002273.html abounded etc, etc. There’s no judgement call here that I can see – as we know now, Reynolds was unambiguously wrong on the facts of the matter. Mainstream media 1, Glenn Reynolds 0, discussion by Reynolds of how badly wrong he was about something that he harped on for months, 0.

asg – comment away – this is a good argument – but I do think that you’re being quite starry-eyed about bloggers’ willingness to admit that they were wrong. And this is something that’s true for prominent bloggers on both the left and the right. This is entirely separate from the question of whether blogs can sometimes factcheck the media to good effect – they can. But they sure could do a better job of removing the 2×4 from their own eye before they start working on their brother’s.

20

grant 12.31.04 at 12:02 am

So, the fact that Glenn casually associates Bustamante with some of the most vile hate speech in the country, and then tries to joke his way out of the mistake is a “minor error?” The fact that he (a man who jokes that “celebrate diversity” means choice among handguns) stands by the racist label in the face of all evidence is proof of his intellectual integrity?

I guess we really are in a new paradigm.

21

grant 12.31.04 at 12:16 am

even the most triumphalist of mainstream righty blogs only seek to improve the MSM (and not replace it).

I think that’s correct, if by “improve” one means “be more like The Weekly Standard.” The Belmont Club doesn’t want to set up a bureau in Baghdad. The objective is to harangue reporters and editors to the point where they think twice about publishing “controversial” stories.

22

Lee Scoresby 12.31.04 at 12:17 am

I don’t understand why this is even worthy of debate. The ideological blogs are awash with half-truths, pseudo-stories, and one-sided coverage. The blogsphere is also quite good at the production of truth through a fog of recursive hypertext links often culminating in mis-readings of mainstream media accounts or the selective citing of articles of dubious pedigree.

23

Jason McCullough 12.31.04 at 12:51 am

“While I don’t doubt that people in the right-wing blogosphere may have bloviated about replacing the NYT or entirely displacing the mainstream media, I think you are misrepresenting the agenda at work.”

Correct, the true agenda is “start printing our objectively correct but empirically inaccurate views and model of the world, damn it.”

24

John Quiggin 12.31.04 at 12:59 am

Looking at the responses by Reynolds, the obvious analogy would be a newspaper that regularly published errors and, rather than retracting them, printed brief letters from those who objected.

His response to Max Sawicky would make sense if his blog were simply a list of links to interesting stuff, without any editorial content. That’s pretty much how blogs started out, and it’s a convenient position to retreat to when you’re caught out in an obvious error.

25

Laura 12.31.04 at 1:03 am

So, I was about to post a comment totally agreeing with Henry, but then Anderson Cooper, who’s ever so busy covering all the angles on CNN, just brought out Jack Hanna to get the animal perspective on the tsanami, and now I’m rather hopeful that the bloggers bring down mainstream media.

26

dsquared 12.31.04 at 1:36 am

Did we ever get a proper retraction out of Reynolds over the Kerry adultery story? Just asking.

Laura: I just heard the animal tsunami angle on Radio 4 and it sounded somewhat interesting. Apparently there was not a single animal killed in a Sri Lankan nature reserve near the coast because they all heard the rumblings of the earthquake and ran for high ground. It’s been a quite controversial point among people in the field whether or not animals can hear earthquakes coming and the fact that they apparently can is, while obviously not of the same scale of story as the human tragedy, interesting.

27

OneEyedGuy 12.31.04 at 2:41 am

http://instapundit.com/archives/014125.php

Reynolds was ‘underwhelmed’ at the start and, iirc, remained so throughout.

The link also has Reynolds saying that all media operations should have blogs.

Also, take note of the updates throughout the life cylce of that post. Reynolds does, I think, a nice job of adding information to his original posts as he gains it. Also, Reynolds corrections are not stuck back on a separate page that you have to go and find and seem to be timely.

Also, lest we forget — jeesh, this is one guy who has a day job using about $1000 worth of computer plus a digital camera. And he’s never really held himself out to be anything but.

I don’t see any ‘Glenn Reynolds: The Most Trusted Name in Blogging’ commercials ON Instapundit.

But, then, I have AdBlocker.

28

ChrisPer 12.31.04 at 2:58 am

A sorry argument, because the best blogs right and left are written by thoughtful people who are clever enough to know they are not trying to replace the MSM.

Many MSM people frame what should be reportage in terms of good/bad by whatever trendy values are in that organisation. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is a great example, but measurement shows that privately owned networks are as bad or worse.

When critics from the Left attack the media for pro-establishment bias, it is taken to show that the MSM are fair; in fact they are just another interest group whose job is to make money from misery. Getting social brownie points from trying to ‘change the world’ is misusing their power.

Peopel with opinions can report fairly; they just need to separate their observations from the editorialising.

29

Jason McCullough 12.31.04 at 5:51 am

“Also, lest we forget —- jeesh, this is one guy who has a day job using about $1000 worth of computer plus a digital camera. And he’s never really held himself out to be anything but.”

Yeah, the whole MSNBC column screams “amateur.”

30

Dan Simon 12.31.04 at 6:06 am

At the risk of sounding reasonable, I’d like to propose that we stop treating “bloggers” and “mainstream media” as uniform, lockstep monoliths. There are, indeed, examples of what is known as “blogger triumphalism” in the blogosphere–bloggers who trumpet, and possibly even believe, the claim that in the future, the mainstream media will disappear, to be entirely replaced by bloggers. There are also lots of bloggers–myself included–who dismiss such talk as nonsense.

Similarly, there are plently of mainstream journalists who have embraced–even started–blogs, and welcome the extra channel of information and feedback they provide. And there are journalists who seem to have come completely unhinged at the prospect of blogger criticism/competition, muttering darkly about fully funded partisan conspiracies, false propaganda, and even the possible need for government regulation. (For example, check out the astonishing scaremongering in this CBS News rant in the aftermath of “memogate”.)

I don’t know if the Power Line bloggers have ever embraced blogger triumphalism, as opposed to the role of bloggers as fact-checkers and media critics. I don’t myself recall ever having seen them brag about their plans to replace the mainstream media, and it’s certainly not a recurring theme in their writing. But the hysterical ranting of the mainstream journalist they’re criticizing–Nick Coleman–sure makes him look like he inhabits the blog-addled end of the mainstream media spectrum. Most of his column has nothing to do with the blogger triumphalism/blogger modesty contradiction you’re complaining about, and everything to do with the alleged evils of the Power Line bloggers–their wealth, their right-wing partisanship, their unwillingness to act as a voice for “the downtrodden”. Nowhere–as you concede–does he address Power Line’s legitimate-sounding complaints about him. Why you’d use his dispute with Power Line as a jumping-off point to complain about blogger triumphalism, rather than about mainstream media hypersensitivity, is beyond me.

31

Patterico 12.31.04 at 7:02 am

The comments here would suck less if you people followed blogging etiquette and provided links to back up your claims.

E.g.: Yuval slanders Glenn Reynolds by falsely attributing a quote to him that he never uttered. Next time, Yuval, feel obligated to provide the link. It’ll save you some embarrassment.

And dsquared says:

Did we ever get a proper retraction out of Reynolds over the Kerry adultery story? Just asking.

Implication: Reynolds reported the Kerry adultery story as fact and owes a retraction. Does dsquared offer a link to prove the implication? Just asking. And just answering: Nope, he doesn’t — and he too is caught, by the very next commenter.

As for the post: Henry — “slavering right wing hacks”? Nice name-calling; poor argument. You’re supposed to be some kinda smart guy, right? Your argument style doesn’t show it.

Ignoring the tone and responding to the substance: as Hugh Hewitt has noted, the problem is not bias — it’s bias dressed up as objectivity. And, really. If you’re really taking Coleman’s side against the PowerLine guys, you’re picking the wrong horse, regardless of ideology. Have you read Coleman? Is he really the type of guy you want to associate yourself with?

And Henry links to Matt Welch’s piece slamming Hugh Hewitt — which (Hewitt notes) does not link Hewitt so Welch’s readers can see what Hewitt actually said. That pesky internet etiquette thing again. It should apply to Welch’s piece, which does have other links . . .

Like Hewitt, I like Matt Welch. But he really should speak to his editors at Reason about getting them to link pieces he criticizes.

32

Dave F 12.31.04 at 7:21 am

The main problem with Henry’s argument is that pretty well everything in it about journalism is just wrong. I am a journalist and one with many years of experience at the top level. Sure, we used to have standards. Yes, we used to be scrupulous. Maybe we used to have intellectual honesty, although intellectuals have never cut any ice in newsrooms.

But the notion of standards and scruples at newspapers now is a matter of lip service and hypocrisy. Newspapers exist to make money, and where in the past their own journalists had sufficient clout and integrity to keep them honest, the bean counters have long since swept them aside . as it becomes harder and harder to beat the bottom line.

Add to this the emasculation of editors, the dumbing down of education and the worldwide juniorisation of newsrooms (cheap journalists who never heard of standards replacing expensive ones with both talent and
integrity) and you have a recipe for decay.
The reason blogs are getting up MSM’s nose is precisely because they are able, in chain and in concert, to challenge every unchecked assertion or ill-judged opinion presented as fact.

Blogs, in general (the serious kind) are often run by journalists frustrated at the MSM morass their work has fallen into. No one expects b logs to replace big media. That would obviously be completely impractical, since newspapers or TV present a shaped package of digestible size — you’d have to spend a lot of time reading blogs to glean a tenth of that much hard news.

What blogs threaten is the MSM’s assumed moral superiority, ownership of truth (as if) and other sanctified notions. The reaction of idiots like Coleman (egotistical idiots abound at newspapers) is on the lines of “Who do they fink they are?” They are your worst nightmare Nick. readers with a voice of their own.

Henry, the word “slavering”here is a bit silly and melodramatic, don’t you think? or is it a joke?

33

Dave F 12.31.04 at 7:37 am

Henry, a PS: Wretchard at the Belmont Club, as I read that piece, is being (as he often is) metaphorically artful. The fortress he refers to is the one I talked about: a monolith of perceived ownership of truth, unquestioned rectitude and unassailable standards. That fortress is already full of holes everyone can see through.

John Quiggin, newspapers do frequently publish brief letters from readers telling them they are wrong. These are sometimes followed by “The error is regretted — Ed”. Not always, though.

Reynolds and others tend to use the update as a correction, which is a lot more honest, since the error is not simply erased but stands as a mute penance.

34

Motoko 12.31.04 at 1:56 pm

Patterico: Yuval slanders Glenn Reynolds by falsely attributing a quote to him that he never uttered. Next time, Yuval, feel obligated to provide the link.

As has been pointed out above, Yuval provided a link to Maxspeak, where Reynolds’ quote is in the comments. Next time, Patterico…

35

Libertarian Girl 12.31.04 at 2:30 pm

I think that blogs can replace the op-ed pages of the mainstream newspapers.

And provide fact checking for certain types of stories such as Rathergate.

Really big blogs, like Instapundit, are so well read they reach a place closer to being mainstream media than just being a blog.

36

David 12.31.04 at 3:00 pm

I concur with libertarian girl.

Bloggers may never replace the main stream media, but they do serve as a way of keeping them honest. And they are beginning to put the op/ed community in its place, which is long in coming.

As to keeping the blogosphere honest – bloggers do that as well. If a blogger is dishonest or makes mistakes they are called on it by a “thousand” editors, not just one. And if they don’t correct their lies/mistakes they are either ignored or declared “amusing, but irrelevant.”

37

Hubris 12.31.04 at 3:53 pm

If you think that blogs should replace the mainstream media, then you should be prepared yourself to live up to some minimal standards of scrupulosity, intellectual honesty, and willingness to deal fairly with facts that are uncomfortable for your own ideological position.

I think Glenn Reynolds did a good job of explaining why this was a straw man.

I would also note that he virtually immediately responded to your post, creating a sort of…conversation.

Ain’t blogging grand?

38

Alex 12.31.04 at 3:58 pm

Yuval badly misrepresents the “free ice cream” remark, which though accurate referred specifically to links that might upset people, not casual misstatements of fact.

39

Patterico 12.31.04 at 4:50 pm

motoko:

Point taken. You are right; I didn’t read these comments carefully enough. I had wrongly assumed that Yuval was accusing Reynolds of having said this on his blog. You are right that Reynolds did utter those words in a comment to the link provided. I stand corrected on my assertion about Yuval’s failure to provide a link.

But, as Alex points out, Yuval badly misrepresented the remark. I think it’s still a slander, since it’s taken so incredibly out of context. Yuval purported to be providing proof of this assertion:

Provide one example where a blogger, busted for a factual error, came back with “hey, what do you want? I’m just a blogger.”

That is completely not what Reynolds is doing.

40

Hubris 12.31.04 at 4:55 pm

Careful, Patterico. How will you maintain your rep as a “slavering right wing hack” by correcting yourself, conceding points, and having a cvilized debate? There goes your street cred.

41

Eric Anondson 12.31.04 at 5:11 pm

Blogs like Instapundit on the left and Atrios on the right

Are you sure you know what you are talking about? I mean this is so mistaken it calls in to question so much else…

And for that matter, Norm Colemans’ column’s bigger problem is that while he criticizes bloggers for being irresponsible or not being journalists, his column is not an example of the journalism or responsibility that he seems to want of bloggers.

42

Walt Pohl 12.31.04 at 5:31 pm

This thread is pretty funny. The New York Times has blown any number of big stories over the past ten years: Wen Ho Lee, Whitewater, Iraqi WMDs. None of those count, though, because “bias” only means “left-wing bias”, a charge whose evidence begins and ends with Dan Rather.

43

Henry 12.31.04 at 5:38 pm

typo fixed.

44

Sebastian Holsclaw 12.31.04 at 5:39 pm

“When the Belmont Club says that “instant reporters” mean that

The last bastion of the media has now witnessed the birth of a kind of informational artillery, which while still too weak to overthrow its existing walls, must surely in time grow to such a strength as to render their fortress untenable.

they’re not talking about factchecking the media’s asses, are they.”

You either don’t read Wretchard very often, or you are deliberately distorting his views. The idea he is talking about destroying is the idea that the mainstream media provides unbiased facts and that it does not express its own point of view. How do you puncture those ideas? By fact-checking and revealing facts that the media does not wish to share.

Looking at the responses by Reynolds, the obvious analogy would be a newspaper that regularly published errors and, rather than retracting them, printed brief letters from those who objected.

Umm, that is pretty much what newspapers do. Ever read the corrections section of the NYT? It has little games about transposed letters in the spelling of someone’s name, it rarely corrects the factual misrepresentations that take place every day. Its headline policy is especially egregious. For a recent example I like the Asymmetrical Information example of “Ohio recount gives a smaller margin to Bush”. The kind of bias which doesn’t realize that the proper headline would be at the very minimum “No Statistically Significant Change after Recount” if not “Nader’s insinuation of masssive voter fraud almost certainly wrong” doesn’t get corrected in correction pages.

45

Yuval Rubinstein 12.31.04 at 5:54 pm

Wow, so I’ve slandered H.G. Reynolds merely by quoting his very words? That’s a new one.
As for the context, this is exactly what Henry is talking about. Reynolds linked to a specious report, along with approving comments by other bloggers, and when others called bullshit, he essentially hides under the skirt of the bloggers he linked to. This “plausible deniability” method of dissembling (hey, it wasn’t me making the argument!) is both maddening yet effective. The outraged responses demonstrate how brilliant (in an idiot savant sort of way) this rhetorical strategy/dodge really is. That’s pretty much all the context you need, folks.

46

Patterico 12.31.04 at 6:33 pm

Yuval’s argument just collapsed. Earlier, he attacked Glenn Reynolds — but when challenged on the specifics, Yuval was forced to admit that Reynolds’s postings are “brilliant” and “effective.” Yuval can’t seem to keep his story straight.

(Yuval: notice that, by your logic, I couldn’t have misrepresented your comments in the previous paragraph. After all, I was just quoting you.)

To be serious for a moment: Yuval, you claimed that Reynolds was “busted for a factual error” when he simply linked to something. That’s quite an overstatement. To put my complaint in sober-minded left-wing academic lingo, I guess you must be one of those slavering left-wing hacks.

47

Sebastian Holsclaw 12.31.04 at 6:42 pm

It all comes down to linking? If anything, Instapundit uses the exact same policy for linking as newspapers use for third-party reporting. There is a whole section of case law (which I am not fully endorsing) which suggests that it is A-OK for the New York Times to report statements of third parties without attracting libel liability unless they act with “knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth.” (“The reckless disregard for truth” is REALLY generous to papers. It involves things like getting actual notice that your report is false and failing to follow up on it.) Trying to hang Reynolds on his “look at this” links is holding him to a HIGHER standard than the NYT.

48

JRK 12.31.04 at 7:46 pm

Hmmm….seems like a tsunami in a teacup. Henry just learned from Norm Coleman (rather quickly, too) that a fabulist, fatuous and hyperbolic attack on any non-left blogger will generate traffic. Fame. Fortune. Inflate self-importance. Heck, I understand the phenomenon…I was a lowly assistant professor once myself. A little saber-rattling against the right never hurts tenure prospects! I had to fake a bit of the old neo-bashing for my promotion–immediately followed, of course, by my resurrection as right-wing warrior. Move on folks, nothing to see here. Youngster faculty trying to make Time’s listings next year.

49

Uncle Kvetch 12.31.04 at 7:49 pm

The New York Times has blown any number of big stories over the past ten years: Wen Ho Lee, Whitewater, Iraqi WMDs. None of those count, though, because “bias” only means “left-wing bias”, a charge whose evidence begins and ends with Dan Rather.

Not to mention the fact that the term “mainstream media” mysteriously omits Fox News, the New York Post, and the Washington Times…

50

Nylarthotep 12.31.04 at 8:29 pm

Calling Bloggers hypocritical because they demand the MSM to report in an unbiased manner is just foolish. Bloggers for the most part are just editorialists. They provide conjecture on news with a biased eye, and they admit that. The MSM on the other hand claims objectivity, but doesn’t provide it. If you look at any side of the MSM you can see that, whether its CBS or Fox. No blogger is asking for the editors or columnists to be objective. Just the journalists.

AS to being responsible, I have looked at all of the bloggers mentioned in this piece and I note that they do something very well. They ask, if not demand, that the reader go to the linked news/column/editorial and read it for themselves. I have never seen an MSM source link to another media source and demand that the consumer fact check them.

In the end, this all appears to be a tempest in a tea cup. If you don’t like bloggers, that’s fine, Lots of them don’t like you. It doesn’t mean that they are irresponsible of hypocritical. Leveraging that type of argument seems a bit petty, especially when you’re still only blaming the pundits for stating their beliefs not providing objective “facts.”

51

DANEgerus 12.31.04 at 8:37 pm

If the MainStreamMedia wasn’t so easy to fact-check the blogs couldn’t do it.

The very strength of the blogosphere is it’s diversity…

Which is repeatedly exposing the MSM’s for their lack of diversity.

The MSM’s have the resources yet remain unwilling to fact-check themselves.

It is this very willfulness that proves… bias.

52

Mike Feldbush 12.31.04 at 8:54 pm

I disagree with your statement that “it’s a bit rich for slavering right wing hacks to accuse the mainstream media of ideological bias and expect to get taken seriously”.

This is illogical on its face.

Many political blogs, political magazines, political talk shows, etc. are *subjective* (opinionated) by their very nature.

Mainstream media, on the other hand, have always assured us that they are *objective* (presenting ‘just the facts, ma’am’).

There’s absolutely nothing inconsistent with folks on the opinion side of the equation needling those on the fact side when they let ideology get in the way of objectivity.

53

eddiehaskell 12.31.04 at 8:56 pm

The sloppiness of Henry’s thinking is revealed by reading the links he provides to Instapundit, which dicuss ways in which the blogosphere criticzed/revealed MSM errors and bias but do not claim that the MSM will be replaced by blogs. Of course, Henry hides behind the evasive “different impression” (circum)locution, even as he accuese others of evasion.

54

eddiehaskell 12.31.04 at 8:57 pm

The sloppiness of Henry’s thinking is revealed by reading the links he provides to Instapundit, which dicuss ways in which the blogosphere criticzed/revealed MSM errors and bias but do not claim that the MSM will be replaced by blogs. Of course, Henry hides behind the evasive “different impression” (circum)locution, even as he accuses others of evasion.

55

Lee Scoresby 12.31.04 at 8:58 pm

“Heck, I understand the phenomenon…I was a lowly assistant professor once myself. A little saber-rattling against the right never hurts tenure prospects! I had to fake a bit of the old neo-bashing for my promotion—immediately followed, of course, by my resurrection as right-wing warrior. Move on folks, nothing to see here. Youngster faculty trying to make Time’s listings next year.”

Right. As if getting in “Time’s listing” would do anything to *help* Henry’s tenure prospects; which, by the way, are not in any jeopardy. Pathetic. Especially coming from a supposedly tenured professor too cowardly to reveal his/her own identity.

Judging from your attitude, you were either at a UC school in the 1960s or your department’s nothing to shout home about.

56

Tim 12.31.04 at 9:10 pm

I would suggest that anyone wanting to understand media bias spend some time at Rhetorica and testing his Critical Meter. You’ll find that Reynolds is familiar with both this and Rosen’s explanation of media bias.

However, slavishly attacking different ideological blogs with the same unintelligent rhetoric as the bias hunting ranters sure does get play, doesn’t it?

57

JRK 12.31.04 at 9:14 pm

Scorsby: Phd…Rackham School (err…trumps Hank a bit, no?) And Rackham Scholar (blush.) Teach at the what we like to call the ‘world’s greatest university’ on the Charles. More than that…who really cares? C’mon, do ya really need to know? Honestly? I mean, how transparent is the internet anyway? And do I really need an inbox full of Deaniacs mad rantings?

58

Lee Scoresby 12.31.04 at 9:41 pm

JRK: you overestimate the transparency of the internet. Hiding behind the fear of having your email “flooded” because you post your real name (without an email address) on an ad hominem attack on a fellow scholar on an academic-oriented blog is the worst excuse I’ve ever heard. Either that or you don’t understand the nature of this site.

I clearly underestimate the bias at the departments of the institution at which I spent my college years. Still wonder what department “pretending to be a leftist” would help you get tenure in….

I, for example, post anonymously because I *don’t* have tenure. :-)

59

Lee Scoresby 12.31.04 at 9:48 pm

I don’t get what’s so hard for all of those who’ve come out of the woodwork to understand: many of the blogs — on both the left and the right — that scream about media bias are highly selective in their evidence (ignoring examples of “bias” that cut in the opposite direction, for example); they don’t do a good job of retracting factually inaccurate stories that they push; much of their evidence comes from citing self-admittedly left-wing or right-wing media sources in the first place; so on and so forth.

60

JRK 12.31.04 at 9:52 pm

Well, that settles that! Scorseby (no google university affiliation, quelle surprise!) is posting anonymously! Kettle? Pot? But I’m not ‘fearful’–your mis-characterization (one of the first flaws of irrational argumentation) of my post, imputing fear where I said nothing of the kind, devolves into the even more egregious accusation of ad hominem attack (I’m starting to think conservatives have a point about nutty leftists and their paranoia) on the original foolish poster. He may be stupid, that’s a given reading his post, but my pointing it out is not an ad hominem attack. Get a dictionary…or an education. Methinks you’re hiding behind the nom de guerre of Lee Scorseby not to help your tenure bid (is ANY leftist ever turned down?) but to disguise your idiocy.

61

Walt Pohl 12.31.04 at 10:05 pm

Hilarity both intentional:

“I don’t see any ‘Glenn Reynolds: The Most Trusted Name in Blogging’ commercials ON Instapundit.”

“But, then, I have AdBlocker.”

And unintentional:

“If you don’t like bloggers, that’s fine, Lots of them don’t like you.”

All this time, I thought Crooked Timber was a blog. I stand corrected.

62

Yuval Rubinstein 12.31.04 at 10:36 pm

I realize I’m talking to the proverbial brick wall here, so I’ll lay out my argument in chewy, bite-sized morsels so that the spittle-flecked Glennonites, chief among them patterico, can understand.
1. Reynolds claims on his blog that

I made three points: (1) Sweden collaborated with the Nazis in World War Two, and with various unsavory types afterward; (2) Sweden has more crime than America; and (3) Sweden is poorer than Mississippi.

In support of his argument, he links to a study by a Swedish trade group, along with approving comments from other bloggers.
2. Max Sawicky debunks Reynolds’ argument about the Sweden/Mississippi comparison with all thar them fancy facts and statistics, which apparently is way beyond patterico and the other Glennonites’ comprehension.
3. In the comments section, Reynolds does not admit that the arguments he specifically endorsed have been disproved. Rather, he provides some examples of his “characteristically evasive” M.O. First, he lamely replies that “you can criticize my links if you want,” even though Reynolds explicitly endorses these arguments (ergo my “hiding under the skirt of the bloggers you link to” comment above).
4. Reynolds then offers a laughable variant on the “we report, you decide” motto, by pointing out that he’s linked to “people who’ve criticized these points,” as if this faux-”fair and balanced” approach insulates him from criticism.
5. Reynolds then tosses in an aside about “antigravity research” that elicited angry responses. He then utters the “money” quote, which, by any rational measure, is intended to buttress his overall (dissembling) argument, which is that he does not endorse, nor is he responsible for, what he links to.
6. Max points out the absurdity of Reynolds’ defense, noting

it’s one thing to offer a link and say it’s worth considering, but another to provide it as evidence for repeated assertions of your own

7. To patterico and the vein-popping Glennonites, the last sentence, which I originally highlighted, has nothing to do with his overall argument, and is tethered solely to his aside about anti-gravity research. However, to any rational observer, the last sentence reflects his evasive and dissembling non-denial, after his argument has just been demolished.
8. Therefore, because this quote is magically disembodied from his main argument, I am somehow not only taking his words out of context, but slandering him as well.

Er, no. Better luck next time.

63

Lee Scoresby 12.31.04 at 10:53 pm

JRK: “And do I really need an inbox full of Deaniacs mad rantings?”
Scoresby: “Hiding behind the fear of having your email “flooded” because….”
JRK: “But I’m not ‘fearful’—your mis-characterization (one of the first flaws of irrational argumentation) of my post, imputing fear where I said nothing of the kind….”

Okay, I’ll bite, what did you say [sic]?

Okay, if I must, I’ll admit that a “fabulist, fatuous and hyperbolic attack” involves substantive claims (barely) about Henry’s argument. But even that is in the context of a claim about Henry’s motives – that he has learned from Norm Coleman that delivering such an attack is a way to boost traffic. Besides your own brief biographical statement, what part of the rest of the post would *not* qualify as a focus on Henry’s motives or personal characteristics rather than his argument?

What part of your initial post would, I would like to know, not qualify as an attack on Henry’s motives or personal characteristics, rather than his argument?

And yes, I even called attention to my apparent double-standard. Is my rationale thin? Enough for me to apologize for impugning your honor. So, I’m sorry I called you a “coward.” I do not believe I’ve otherwise misrepresented your post.

64

Yuval Rubinstein 12.31.04 at 10:57 pm

And I couldn’t let this go by:

you claimed that Reynolds was “busted for a factual error” when he simply linked to something.

Really? Then why does Reynolds, in his post, start off by writing “I made three points.” That’s more than just “simply link[ing] to something.” You might even say (call me crazy) that he’s using these links in support of his argument (as Max astutely points out “it’s one thing to offer a link and say it’s worth considering, but another to provide it as evidence for repeated assertions of your own.”) When said links supporting his argument (notice a pattern here?) are debunked, Reynolds lamely responds that “you can criticize my links if you want” and concludes by whining “It’s a frickin’ blog, after all. If you don’t like the free ice cream, fine.” The end.

65

JRK 12.31.04 at 11:02 pm

I said (originally:) “Hmmm….seems like a tsunami in a teacup. Henry just learned from Norm Coleman (rather quickly, too) that a fabulist, fatuous and hyperbolic attack on any non-left blogger will generate traffic. Fame. Fortune. Inflate self-importance.”

A tsunami in a teacup. How does this smear Henry? Pointing out that his traffic has increased by tactics employed by Norm Coleman hardly reaches slander. It’s a fact.

66

Lee Scoresby 12.31.04 at 11:03 pm

It’s my job to be repetitive. My job. It’s my job…. :-)

67

Bill Trippe 12.31.04 at 11:06 pm

I had never read Coleman before, and I understand now he has a history with the Powerline folks, but the column itself is spot on. The Powerline guys are hopelessly partisan and sophomoric. Even if one can claim the mainstream media are liberal (which, to me, is specious; the mainstream media are a lot of things before they are “liberal”), the straightline partisanship of the likes of Powerline is never met by the average American media organization.

Now that I have spent some time reading Powerline, I see that they say outrageous, partisan, and ignorant things routinely. And they post under the names “Big Trunk” and “Hind Rocket.” And they are surprised someone would call them on this?

Their reaction–and the wingnut shitstorm spreading across their blogs–is more proof of a very simple point. The rightwing can dish it out, but they can’t take it.

And they claim liberals play the victim card. What a bunch of whining nitwits.

68

Bill Trippe 12.31.04 at 11:07 pm

I had never read Coleman before, and I understand now he has a history with the Powerline folks, but the column itself is spot on. The Powerline guys are hopelessly partisan and sophomoric. Even if one can claim the mainstream media are liberal (which, to me, is specious; the mainstream media are a lot of things before they are “liberal”), the straightline partisanship of the likes of Powerline is never met by the average American media organization.

Now that I have spent some time reading Powerline, I see that they say outrageous, partisan, and ignorant things routinely. And they post under the names “Big Trunk” and “Hind Rocket.” And they are surprised someone would call them on this?

Their reaction–and the wingnut shitstorm spreading across their blogs–is more proof of a very simple point. The rightwing can dish it out, but they can’t take it.

And they claim liberals play the victim card. Such whining! Such hysteria!

69

Bill Trippe 12.31.04 at 11:08 pm

I had never read Coleman before, and I understand now he has a history with the Powerline folks, but the column itself is spot on. The Powerline guys are hopelessly partisan and sophomoric. Even if one can claim the mainstream media are liberal (which, to me, is specious; the mainstream media are a lot of things before they are “liberal”), the straightline partisanship of the likes of Powerline is never met by the average American media organization.

Now that I have spent some time reading Powerline, I see that they say outrageous, partisan, and ignorant things routinely. And they post under the names “Big Trunk” and “Hind Rocket.” And they are surprised someone would call them on this?

Their reaction–and the wingnut shitstorm spreading across their blogs–is more proof of a very simple point. The rightwing can dish it out, but they can’t take it.

And they claim liberals play the victim card. Such whining! Such hysteria!

70

Michael 12.31.04 at 11:30 pm

Getting back to the beginning of the discussion and Coleman.
While obviously agitated with his treatment at the mouths of the NARN, his point is that Powerline, Drudge, Hewitt and others are no less, and little more, than conduits of the Bush administration.

They are the pentultimate Yesmen who do the dirty work of the Republicans. The President can be gracious while the attack dogs tear apart anyone who gets in the way of the Radical agenda.

Powerline proved the CBS documents were fake, but what about the facts of the accusation they sought to prove? Did the President in his youth use his influence to get out of Vietnam? Of course he did, but that doesn’t matter to the blogsphere. The truth behind the lie is so much collateral damage.

71

Mark 12.31.04 at 11:47 pm

I’m sure Henry will have no difficulty explaining how calling his opponents “slavering right wing hacks” constitutes a valid argument.

I am amazed that a political scientist such as Henry, educated and employed at the highest levels of academics, would resort to ad hominem attacks in an attempt to fool his audience. He must surely hold his readers in contempt if he think this sort of tripe will be persuasive.

And to think that an academic who is apparently unable to mount an argument without resorting to ad hominem attacks is actually teaching others to think critically.

This is what happens when leftist academics refuse to learn basic logic.

72

PAB 01.01.05 at 1:06 am

RE: Footnote stating that bloggers would make lousy reporters.

I generally diagree with Henry’s views here. I don’t think he correctly understands the ultimate problem. MSM claims to be completely objective, but clearly is not. If you dispute this premise, then I doubt we’ll agree on much of anything. But I would suggest that you at least check out Patterico’s summary of biased “objective” news gathering and reporting at the LA Times. It is compelling evidence that the newspaper slants its news to advance a liberal agenda.

Bloggers object to this type of dishonesty in the MSM. I think they are generally correct in their objections. I also think that bloggers (in their roll as media critics) do not hide their biases is to their credit, Henry seems to believe otherwise. I do not see how having bloggers pretend to be objective (like MSM does) would be an improvement. I think a better (but unrealistic solution) would be for MSM news reporters and editors to fully disclose their political beliefs, so that readers can view their reporting in context, and take what they say with the grain of salt they find appropriate.

Anyway, I doubt I’ve added much here, but have a Happy New Year all!

PAB

73

Jason McCullough 01.01.05 at 1:56 am

“Calling Bloggers hypocritical because they demand the MSM to report in an unbiased manner is just foolish.”

http://instapundit.com/archives/019948.php

“THE BELMONT CLUB has tough questions for the Associated Press.”

What’s in the linked Belmont Club post? Evidence-free assertation that the Associated Press is actively colluding with Iraqi insurgents; that is, treason. Just for fun, there’s about 100 comments in the post calling for the execution of reporters.

As you can see, conservatives blogs are clearly committed to honest inquiry and letting the chips fall where they may. Glenn Reynolds, for example, would never link to fascist stab-in-the-back calls for the murdering of reporters.

Or posts approving of vandalism to the property of newspapers he doesn’t like: http://www.instapundit.com/archives/015663.php

Or is-it-rhetorical questions about whether we should do away with freedom of the press: http://www.instapundit.com/archives/015626.php

74

Bill Trippe 01.01.05 at 2:41 am

Jason makes a great point. Instapundit has said in the past that his blog “consists entirely of my opinions and such factual links as I find interesting” (my emphasis). But when I follow his links I am led to a hodgepodge of materials, some of which are truly hateful, ignorant, and bizarre (such as the Belmont Club posting referenced above).

And, then, when these crackpot theories are proven wrong, he never follows up. He has done his damage, and has no interest in cleaning up the mess. Meanwhile, he can’t stop congratulating the blogosphere–and himself by extension–on its positive impact on the public debate. He is either hopelessly ignorant or duplicitous.

75

Mannning 01.01.05 at 2:57 am

Just one comment: readers or viewers of both MSM and blogs have an obligation to bring their own knowledge and intelligent reasoning into play on the subject at hand, plus to use their access to the internet in the first place to shore up the old knowledge base immensely. Facts can be checked, diverse opinions can be read, and various authorities can be consulted. Furthermore, the reader is welcome to set forth his own opinion, most especially in blog threads. The MSM do not respond to individual comments very often.

76

Mannning 01.01.05 at 2:58 am

Just one comment: readers or viewers of both MSM and blogs have an obligation to bring their own knowledge and intelligent reasoning into play on the subject at hand, plus to use their access to the internet in the first place to shore up the old knowledge base immensely. Facts can be checked, diverse opinions can be read, and various authorities can be consulted. Furthermore, the reader is welcome to set forth his own opinion, most especially in blog threads. The MSM do not respond to individual comments very often.

77

Anonymously yours 01.01.05 at 4:49 am

“The right-wing blogosphere has no interest in a media that lives up to objective standards of journalism.”

So true, these people want things their way or no way. It’s disgusting if not completely careless.

How terribly regressive we have become at the hands of this minority of tyrants and anarchists.

78

Andy 01.01.05 at 5:09 am

Jason – Good comment nailing why those defending Reynolds should think hard about what they’re doing.

Bill – He’s worse than simply not following up corrections. Reynolds often turns opportunities to come clean back on anyone with the temerity to fact check him. He loves to crudely paraphrase the complaint and then either dodge the question by running down the person or quoting a convenient reader who writes pretty much what Heynolds would say himself.

79

Webster Hubble Telescope 01.01.05 at 5:10 am

Interesting to note that the Wizbang blog folks essentially removed all their postings referring to a Utah State professor who had the temerity to do an independent analysis of the Bush memos. So, all of their next-generation “journalism” got swept down a black hole due to apparently libelous statements.

So much for careful, thoughtful analysis that will stand the test of time.

It’s not improbable that one day someone like Scott Johnson of the PowerLine blog will let out something proprietary about his employer, TCF National Bank. TCF will threaten to take him to court, and “poof”, the whole PowerLine archives will mysteriously disappear (and a janitor will be called to clean up the brown puddle under his desk).

The Library of Congress they ain’t.

80

Webster Hubble Telescope 01.01.05 at 5:24 am

I find it amusing that if you consider any run-of-the-mill right-wing blog, given any objective standards, it is virtually impossible to determine if it is actually a parody of some idealistic wingnut’s thoughts.

So if in fact, one of these sites consists of performance artists (e.g. the PowerLine bloggers are former lefties by their own admission), they could actually rake in a small fortune by writing an expose of how they snookered the masses.

A David Brock kind-of-moment in the making?

81

acewhiplash 01.01.05 at 7:09 am

The argument against Farrell is as clear as day: The MSM does not admit its biases, but the blogosphere does. However, since all y’all choose to ignore this argument, why don’t we then discuss the following proposition:

a) The “slavering right wing hacks” acting in a biased manner is actually helping their cause, at the same time that b) the “mainstream media” acting in a biased manner is actually hurting their ability to get their candidates’ elected. See Dan Rather, et. al., plus Mickey Kaus’s latest posts http://www.slate.com/id/2111460/
starting at P.P.P.S

and also his discussions 2 years ago, http://www.slate.com/id/2073478, of how the NYTimes had polls that showed the R’s surging at the 2002 mid term elections but chose to bury that information:

The I – Had -The -Big -Story- of- Election -2002- And-Buried- It-In-The-Sixth-Paragraph Award goes to … Adam Nagourney, New York Times, who apparently didn’t believe what his paper’s own poll was telling him (that the big pro-GOP gain on the “generic” party preference question signified something). Instead, Nagourney produced these Grade A wishful-thinking spin grafs:

But that question, known as a generic ballot question, is a measure of national sentiment, and does not necessarily reflect how Americans will vote in the governor’s races around the country and in the handful of close Senate and House races that will ultimately determine the control of Congress.

The concern among Democrats about the nation’s direction and the economy suggests that Democratic voters might be more motivated to cast their ballots on Tuesday and respond to the ambitious get-out-the-vote drives that have been organized by the Democratic Party, aimed in particular at voters who are distressed about the economy. [Emphasis added.]

82

Jason McCullough 01.01.05 at 9:58 am

“The argument against Farrell is as clear as day: The MSM does not admit its biases, but the blogosphere does.”

I must have missed the part where Reynolds said “I’m an up-front whore for war!”

Happy new year, everyone.

83

abb1 01.01.05 at 12:36 pm

The MSM is a business endeavor – selling their audience (attracted by various means: entertainment, unbiased reporting, naked breasts, whatever works) to their advertising customers. Anything they do is a reflection of this simple fact. One could criticise the BBC, CBC or PBS for being biased, but ABC, CBS, FOX or CNN you can criticise only based on the value of their stock.

Interesting that many of the major blogs are also for-profit these days; I seem to remember reading somewhere that they’re known to generate incomes in the tune of couple hundred grand a year. Not too bad for a one-man operation without any start-up costs.

Under these circumstances, asking for consistency, objectivity or even decency is as silly as being angry at ‘we have the best pizza in town’ flyer.

84

Jay Rosen 01.01.05 at 4:20 pm

I wrote about this: “I often come across arguments like Farrell’s refuting those who (allegedly) would ‘replace’ the Associated Press with Atrios, Command Post and Little Green Footballs. It’s easy. After all, you’re arguing with a phantom. Now Henry is an academic and a blogger (as Reynolds is, as I am) so I am surprised that he committed another no-no in our game, which is to characterize a writer as holding a particular view, and attack that view as nonsense, but supply no links allowing us to see for ourselves what the writer said and verify: yep, nonsense…” the rest is here (scroll down to After section.)

85

Patterico 01.01.05 at 4:24 pm

Jason,

What a silly comment.

The fact that Reynolds didn’t articulate his support for the war in the ridiculous way you suggest doesn’t mean he hasn’t said he’s for the war. He has.

86

Oldtimer 01.01.05 at 4:31 pm

“Let me explain it” to you “in plain, simple English”.
The MSM purports to report the news factually and objectively. It clearly does not do so. It adamantly and hypocritically denies its’ obvious bias. Powerline, Kos et al are also biased but they acknowledge it up front. They present opinion and analysis in support. The “blogosphere” (actually the public via the internet) does fact check and often embarass the MSM.
That’s the point which for some reason, you are trying to obscure.
By the way, the NYTimes “admission” that it was “wrong on WMD” is like Fox admitting it was wrong that Kerry was a legitimate war hero. How dumb do you think your readers are?

87

Motoko 01.01.05 at 4:38 pm

I would be more interested in your response to Yuval’s 10:36 comment, Patterico.

88

Walt Pohl 01.01.05 at 4:54 pm

Jesus, where did all these people come from? They show up, don’t read the comments, post the exact same talking points about the ‘MSM’ and ‘bias’, and then disappear.

I notice that conspicuously none of our visitors have addressed my points. The New York Times “buries the lede” on the 2002 midterm elections, and that’s evidence of “bias”. Yet, the Times spends 4 years trying to run Bill Clinton out of Washington, and a year printing every half-assed rumor that advances the Bush administration’s case for war, and this is somehow evidence of nothing. This is confirmation bias as mental illness.

89

Oldtimer 01.01.05 at 5:34 pm

I have now read “Walt”‘s comments and am not impressed. He thinks that if the NYTimes was wrong on WMDs, that proves it is fair and balanced. That is nonsense. Even the Time’s “admission” of error is disingenuous.
“Walt” asks why “would the CBS forged memos be the epitome of journalistic failure, and not the New York Times’ credulous reporting of Iraqi WMDs?” The answer is: Because the Times was reporting what eveyone else believed about WMDs and CBS was intentionally propagating bullshit.
Now I will dissappear.

90

Patterico 01.01.05 at 5:55 pm

I would be more interested in your response to Yuval’s 10:36 comment, Patterico.

Well, I hadn’t really intended to respond to it, because it’s so condescending:

I realize I’m talking to the proverbial brick wall here, so I’ll lay out my argument in chewy, bite-sized morsels so that the spittle-flecked Glennonites, chief among them patterico, can understand.

. . . .

2. Max Sawicky debunks Reynolds’ argument about the Sweden/Mississippi comparison with all thar them fancy facts and statistics, which apparently is way beyond patterico and the other Glennonites’ comprehension.

Forgive me if I wasn’t in a rush to engage in discussion with someone who made these sorts of statements.

But maybe Yuval is put out with me because I said his comment was a “slander” and feels that this sort of arrogance is appropriate as a result? Who knows?

In any event, I’ll respond to it because you asked me to, motoko — not because I’m particularly interested in getting into a debate with someone (Yuval) whose rhetoric is as supercilious as those comments I have just quoted.

Here’s my thinking:

I am agnostic on the substance of what Reynolds was talking about in 2002 about the Swedish economy. That’s not what this discussion is about. It’s about admitting errors, and being forthright and credible.

On his blog, Instapundit made the assertion (among other things) that Sweden was poorer than Mississippi. He made this and a number of other points, all as a response to the theory that Sweden was a “beacon of light” after which the U.S. should model itself. A number of people criticized him on the Mississippi point, including this MaxSpeak fellow. In updates, he linked to criticism and debated the merits of the claim. From what I can tell, the debate was fairly subjective, since (as MaxSpeak said) “poor” can mean different things. Still, Reynolds considered the arguments and ultimately ended up conceding the point.

To me, this was an admirable demonstration of the superiority of blogging to the handling of information by Big Media. That doesn’t mean bloggers are superior to journalists, by the way. It means that conversation, give-and-take, and a willingness to admit error are superior to unilateral pronouncements, very limited feedback, and fighting corrections tooth and nail.

Then, in comments on Maxspeak, Reynolds notes that he had linked to criticism of the piece, and — clearly peeved by an e-mail he had gotten about another piece he had linked to — made the “free ice cream” observation.

But Yuval portrays the whole incident I just described as: Reynolds screws up, but refuses to admit he was wrong, hiding behind a link he used. Yuval says Reynolds:

essentially hides under the skirt of the bloggers he linked to.

Yuval completelely omits the part where Reynolds had admitted he was wrong about the issue in question. And he made that admission on his blog — meaning it was a very public admission, since his blog is read by a lot more people than Maxspeak’s is.

Yuval pretends that Reynolds just didn’t care about the facts, and when caught with his pants down, simply pled: “Hey, I’m just a blogger.”

That’s crap, and that (in my view) is a slander of Reynolds.

91

Patterico 01.01.05 at 6:09 pm

Jason,

I know I didn’t provide a link for my assertion that Glenn Reynolds supports the war. I assume you don’t really dispute that assertion, and were simply making a snide comment. (If I did give a link, it would probably look something like this: http://instapundit.com.)

92

John McGinnis 01.01.05 at 6:22 pm

Couple of observations:

1) Most bloggers are doing this as a hobby or personal interest. It’s not their day job. But that says something. When a ‘part timer’ with some access to expertise can bring on MemoGate what does that say to all the J schools out there? If I were the Dean at Columbia I would be taking a hard look at my entire program scholacticly.

2) The Old Media is on a collision course with economic reality. There is no way an MSM operation will be able to compete with some guy with a $5k server and some T1 lines. The cost structures are a ratio of 20:1 minimum. And MSM major achilles heel is cost of distribution, especially print.

It would not take much for an electronic ‘Village Voice’ with good writing, a fair editorial policy and a willingness to take risks to clean the mat with something like the WaPo. The economics are in their favor over the long haul.

3) Technology already exists to make a USA Today First Person electronic paper. Using just first person feeds it could be done, both for print and video. But someone would have to pony up the labor to do the edits a rewrites such an effort will entail. And maybe that is where journalism is headed.

JohnM

93

Seth Finkelstein 01.01.05 at 6:52 pm

Henry, I think the issue is that the partisan bloggers look at your analysis from an utterly inverted viewpoint, in the phrase “You should be prepared to live up yourself to the standards that you demand of others.” In their framework, they are living up to the critical standards they demand of others, which have much less to do with “intellectual honesty”, etc. and much more to do with political advocacy.

If everyone’s a hack, everyone’s a shill, THEN, it follows from this viewpoint (not saying it’s my own, just explaining here) that the result of the divergence between bloggers and the MSM is not that *bloggers* need to work on responsibility and honesty, but that the *MSM* needs to be brought to account for hiding its supposed lack of hackerdom and shillery. In this viewpoint, *there* *is* *no* *difference* between the most dedicated reporter, and the most partisan party flack, except that the flack is then held to be more transparent for having an obvious agenda (as compared to the presumed present, but hidden, agenda of the dedicated reporter). The grand intellectual mission, in this framework, is then to call to account the MSM for its assumed own partisanness (psychologists will mutter about “projection”, but that’s somewhat facile).

The key thing to realize is that in their own minds, they’re not being hypocrites, it’s the MSM reporters who are being hypocrites, in not confessing to their presumptive behavior which is thought to be absolutely identical to partisan bloggers but just favoring different interests. If you try to debate this, the reply will be _ad nauseum_:

“What about THIS! And THAT! And the other thing! Memos! Memos! Memos!”

Of which plenty of examples of the type can be seen above :-).

94

Tim 01.01.05 at 7:33 pm

Seth Finkelstein has actually reversed the reality of the relationship between citizen bloggers and “professional” journalists that are paid to adhere to an objective process, or to provide critical analysis as op/ed.

Anyone can judge and criticize “professional” journalists based on the stated standards of professional journalism without being hypocritical. The problem that professional journalists face is that they do not (and perhaps may not be able due to structural biases) often meet their own standards for “objective”, “fair”, “balanced” and “accurate”.

An easy analogy would be criticizing moralists for not living up to their own stated standards for moral behavior without yourself being a saint. If you never held yourself to live by the same moral standards, you may still judge moralists by their own standards and point out their hypocrisy when they fall short.

But that does beg the question: “What are the standards, ethics, or structural biases of blog(er)s?”

What is considered good blogging in terms of fairness, accuracy, completeness, access, interactivity, …?

It’s easy to say there are none. It’s easy to create a strawman standard for someone else and then accuse her/him of hypocrisy.

It’s also intellectually dishonest.

That’s what Henry has done here and his defenders contort themselves to ignore – both as part of Henry’s disingenuousness and that all bloggers face the same question.

95

praktike 01.01.05 at 8:36 pm

“Calling Bloggers hypocritical because they demand the MSM to report in an unbiased manner is just foolish. Bloggers for the most part are just editorialists. They provide conjecture on news with a biased eye, and they admit that. The MSM on the other hand claims objectivity, but doesn’t provide it. If you look at any side of the MSM you can see that, whether its CBS or Fox. No blogger is asking for the editors or columnists to be objective. Just the journalists.”

Er, no.

Powerline (weakly) “fisks” an admittedly shaky Op/Ed column by Thomas Friedman. I’d say that most of the points are debateable.

Hugh Hewitt, fresh from whining about how the “MSM” failed to cover “Oompa-Loompa Gate,” incorporates Powerline’s post into a Weekly Standard column called “A Unified Theory of the Old Media Collapse.”

Was this supposed to be something special? A partisan disagrees with a newspaper columnist? Give me a fucking break. I’ve been disagreeing with George Will since I could read.

96

abb1 01.01.05 at 8:44 pm

An easy analogy would be criticizing moralists for not living up to their own stated standards for moral behavior without yourself being a saint.

Whoa, wait a minute. Are you saying that anyone can criticize anyone else without ever sounding hypocritical? The French can criticize Americans, Arab dictators can criticize Israelies, bin Laden the US government?

Interesting. Is this concept actually shared by sanctimonious wingnuts like Reynolds, Sullivan, etc?

97

Motoko 01.01.05 at 9:03 pm

Patterico: Well, I hadn’t really intended to respond to it, because it’s so condescending

That would have been a more convincing argument if you yourself hadn’t written things here like: “You’re supposed to be some kinda smart guy, right? Your argument style doesn’t show it.”

More importantly, I think you miss the main point Yuval is making: Reynolds first provided those links as evidence of his claims about Sweden, but when they were refuted, he claimed they were just some stuff he linked to as interesting information, in the same way he links to Max’s post.

About the free ice-cream quote: it is made in a comment to a blogpost about the poor Swedes and the bad links, as part a discussion about exactly that subject. But if I understand you correctly you think that the only relevant context is the paragraph it was part of, not the rest of the discussion. Well, I guess I can accept that you read it that way, but to call someone who places it in a slightly broader context a slanderer really seems a bit exaggerated.

BTW, Happy Newyear!

98

Tim 01.01.05 at 9:13 pm

Are you saying that anyone can criticize anyone else without ever sounding hypocritical?

Uh, no, but you already knew that didn’t you?

99

Jason McCullough 01.01.05 at 9:24 pm

“I assume you don’t really dispute that assertion, and were simply making a snide comment.”

Yeah, I let my snideness get in the way of the point. You know how professional spinners say all sorts of stupid things? For example:

“The President has not discussed the universe exploding yesterday with me, so I can’t give you his reaction.” “The President doesn’t use grecian formula 44.” “The President wasn’t lying about Monica.” “Trent Lott isn’t a racist.” “We are winning in Iraq.”

The issue with Glenn Reynolds, I guess, is that he’s a Ari Fleischer that actually believes the total absurdities that come out of his virtual flaphole.

The press isn’t just biased in various interesting and contradictory ways – it’s actively colluding with the enemies of the United States!

Statistics that disagree with my ideological predispensation aren’t something I should examine – they’re clearly lies that I can reject out of hand!

Call it “spin blowback,” I guess.

100

Jason McCullough 01.01.05 at 9:28 pm

Better version:

“The fact that Reynolds didn’t articulate his support for the war in the ridiculous way you suggest doesn’t mean he hasn’t said he’s for the war.”

There’s a difference between “I support the war in Iraq and think our problems there are oversold” and “I’m a professional whore for the Republican party.” Contrast Daniel Drezner (on a good day) vs. Jonah Goldberg.

Reynolds is a less-funny Goldberg with a bigger readership, but he, and his fellow travelers, seriously seems to think he’s playing the part of an honest broker here.

101

abb1 01.01.05 at 9:35 pm

Uh, no, but you already knew that didn’t you?

Why, actually this is very much in line with my way of thinking. You’re making a good point. Too bad you aren’t making it in good faith and people you’re trying to defend don’t believe in it. Which makes it, umm… what’s the word?… hypocritical?

102

Seth Finkelstein 01.01.05 at 9:51 pm

Tim, I think you’re overlooking that there’s more than just the journalist standards criticism in play, which is what’s leading to the “two-step” issue. If all that matters is holding journalists to their own purported standards, then blogger critics don’t have a claim to being anything more than ankle-biters, carpers at inevitable mistakes in any undertaking. This is often an unsatisfying moral ground.

An obvious MSM reply to the initial critique by bloggers, is “Yes, theMSM makes mistakes, but WE TRY TO BE ACCURATE. We make an effort, we have an ideal, etc. etc.”

When the blogger critics continue, “But you messed-up here, you didn’t get that right there, and it’s because you’re a bunch of liberal agents of the Democratic party, etc. etc.”, then we go back to the reply above.

At this point, it’s just too tempting to try to grab some of that moral high ground of intellectual standards and honesty, with all the rhetorical perils that entails. Otherwise, it wouldn’t even be a question of whether there’s an I’m-just-a-blogger get-out-of-responsibility-free card.

103

Tim 01.01.05 at 9:56 pm

You’re making a good point.

Yes, I am, thank you.

Too bad you aren’t making it in good faith and people you’re trying to defend don’t believe in it.

Ad hominem and untrue, but not unexpected.

104

abb1 01.01.05 at 10:09 pm

Tim, not true?

Bin Laden, reading from a statement, criticized President Bush’s handling of the Sept. 11 attacks, saying, “I never thought the supreme commander would leave 50,000 people in the buildings (the twin towers) at the time they needed him the most so he could listen to a girl tell a story about her goat.”

Is this a fair criticizm of a professional US president by a person who himself is not being a saint? I think it is – you? Just checking…

105

Tim 01.01.05 at 10:36 pm

Seth:

… there’s more than just the journalist standards criticism in play …

Yes, for some, on the Left and Right of the blogosphere as well as the ideological bias hunters at AIM, MRC, FAIR, MMfA, ….

“An obvious MSM reply to the initial critique by bloggers, is “Yes, the MSM makes mistakes, but WE TRY TO BE ACCURATE. We make an effort, we have an ideal, etc. etc.”

MSM humility? Print and TV? Wonderful!! Now, that’s not what normally occurs and certainly not what was demonstrated by Dan Rather, Jonathan Klein and CBS during the memoscandal , was it?

As much as I am sympathetic to your concerns about A-list filtering and triumphalism in the blogosphere, you also are overly, and unnecessarily, cynical.

abb1:

… Is this a fair criticizm …

Fair? No. Criticism? Yes. Is Bin Laden being hypocritical by criticizing Bush? In this example, yes. Could Bin Laden criticize Bush, the American military, etc., without being hypocritical? Yes.

Would you be able to distinguish between the two? I’m doubtful.

106

abb1 01.01.05 at 11:07 pm

Tim,
Would you be able to distinguish between the two? I’m doubtful.

Do you mean here that hypocrisy is in the eyes of the beholder or that I am a freak of nature?

In any case, why do you think your perception of what consitiute hypocrisy is better than mine – if it indeed requires such a delicate detection?

107

Tim 01.01.05 at 11:17 pm

Do you mean here that hypocrisy is in the eyes of the beholder or that I am a freak of nature?

As to the former, there could be honest disagreement whether a specific example is a clear case of hypocrisy. Your example would not have qualified. As to the latter, I honestly don’t know: Are you?

In any case, why do you think your perception of what consitiute hypocrisy is better than mine – if it indeed requires such a delicate detection?

It did not require delicacy in the example you selected; therefore your example demonstrated your inferior perception.

108

Christian Waugh 01.01.05 at 11:36 pm

Something to remember about bias… if it is passed off as standard, then anything that deviates is ‘abnormal.’ Hence, when rigid ideological bias as is purported to exist in the ‘unbiased’ and ‘fair’ media (i.e. standard television and newspaper media), then when someone like FOXNEWS or blogs come along, they are automatically seen as deviant.

There’s a linguistic analogy: it has been said that the omniscience of the prime masculine in English makes it standard. You know it as well as I do, as well as the movements to displace it as standard, but it is nontheless a basic linguistic postulate of English, and therefore it is observed first and the other (the feminine) is hence derived, as from a rib.

Truth be told, there’s always bias, and the better we are at recognizing it, the better we can rejoice in the diversity.

109

abb1 01.01.05 at 11:37 pm

As to the latter, I honestly don’t know: Are you?

Hmm. Sounds charming, but let’s be honest: I am just an ordinary person.

…your example demonstrated your inferior perception

Still, how can you substantiate you claim of superior perception in this case? This is just a bunch of preconceived notion in your head talking, isn’t it.

And if indeed there could be honest disagreement whether a specific example is a clear case of hypocrisy, then why do you accuse people of being intellectually dishonest when clearly there’s a case to be made here against ‘em right-wing folks (and some of the left-wing folks too, I suppose)?

OK, see you tomorrow.

110

Seth Finkelstein 01.02.05 at 12:04 am

Tim: So since the argument extends far beyond journalistic standards, there’s no point in making cramped objections which require it be strictly confined there.

In fact, the CBS memos scandal makes an excellent case study to outline, well, frankly, the outright pathology of some viewpoints (e.g. one commentor above “… CBS was intentionally propagating bullshit.”)

A horde of wingnuts goes after Dan Rather and CBS all the time, and has been after him personally for about 30 years. That’s around three decades in which they’ve been crying wolf at him, a numbing chorus of: “wolf. Wolf. Wolf! WOLF!! *W*O*L*F*!!! **WW**OO**LL**FF**!!!! …”. One time, there actually was a wolf, and he didn’t believe it at first. He thought it was the same old wolf-crying.

This has got to be one of the most understandable human reactions imaginable.

It requires the blindest, cruelest, adherence to rote, to read deep journalistic institutional meaning into his personal denial.

I have no love for the MSM. I’ve seen journalists get away with backstabbing, plagiarism, vicious smears. But many of the blogger-critics strike me as even worse! All of the abuse of power without even a shred of responsibility. Am I overly cynical? I think I’m being realistic about the evidence. Whether or not it’s necessary, I won’t say.

111

James C. Hess 01.02.05 at 12:40 am

RE: Journalism does not take as much training and formal education as medicine or law.

Perhaps it should.

112

Tim 01.02.05 at 1:13 am

One time, there actually was a wolf, and he didn’t believe it at first. He thought it was the same old wolf-crying.

Well, except that this isn’t the first time there was a wolf, either at CBS News/60 Minutes or relating specifically to Dan Rather.[1][2][3][4][5] Were there wolves every time the bias ranters ranted? No. But it is untrue that “One time, there actually was a wolf, …”.

What is even more pertinent is that CBS, and Dan Rather specifically, did not react out of the norm this time. This was a characteristic response. But these were not characteristic times. Blogs are a part of that change, but not as much, perhaps, as some might proclaim. Heightened partisanship, especially during a Presidential election season, in fact weeks before the election, might have played some part in Dan Rather’s demise this time as opposed to those other times.

re: … the outright pathology of some viewpoints (e.g. one commentor above “… CBS was intentionally propagating bullshit.”)

I am anxious to read the CBS report, you?

This has got to be one of the most understandable human reactions imaginable.

Was it understandable? Predictable, perhaps, based on institutional MSM behavior. But, to me and others, it was the opposite of understandable (un-understandable … perhaps even mystifying) as either a professional journalistic response or the response a media-savvy organization would choose.

But, no, not an atypical Dan Rather response, despite it being outside the professional and ethical journalistic response.

113

Tim 01.02.05 at 1:35 am

This has got to be one of the most understandable human reactions imaginable.

It requires the blindest, cruelest, adherence to rote, to read deep journalistic institutional meaning into his personal denial.

BTW, if you are one that finds the hyper-bias-ranting “dumb” because journalists are not slaves to their ideological or irrational nature, then it does not require “the blindest, cruelest, adherence to rote” to question the institutionalized reaction by CBS News and 60 Minutes – from Moonves to Mapes, taking pitstops at Howard and Rather – does it?

114

Walt Pohl 01.02.05 at 4:04 am

Tim: Why does “bias” for you begin and end with Dan Rather?

115

Tim 01.02.05 at 4:37 am

walt: Why does “bias” for you begin and end with Dan Rather?

It doesn’t Walt. Bias is everywhere. Do you deny it?

The CBS memoscandal is something that Seth and I have discussed before and you’ll find it in his earlier post: “… Memos! Memos! Memos!”

Perhaps you should direct the same question to Seth?

116

x 01.02.05 at 10:44 am

Breaking my resolution to avoid silly flame wars here but I have to register my amusement at how so many people seem to have missed this not at all marginal point raised by unkle kvetch: the term “mainstream media” mysteriously omits Fox News, the New York Post, and the Washington Times…

Which makes this whole instablogger crusade against the “mainstream” a very transparent travesty for advocacy of *more* bias, but in the direction of those media mysteriously omitted in the attacks to said “mainstream”.

But even there, there’s another point not-so-mysteriously flying over the crusaders’s heads here. The structure of any media, _including_ Fox News and the NYP and WT, is characterised by the presence of a few things that blogs do not and cannot by nature have: editorial boards and legal offices. With all that it entails. So even when the level of discourse can sink to crass or offensive or tabloid-like levels, no editor will simply give carte blanche to anyone to publish or broadcast whatever instant reactions to the news. And even in the US where there is no journalists guild or charter like in some other countries, and no restrictions on hate speech, a mainstream news source (so not counting radio talk shows and the like) will still have to take some measures to uphold at least some basic standards of the profession, if anything only to try and avoid libel and/or alienating too many viewers/readers. Yes, even Fox News. If in doubt, just imagine if it was run by Reynolds instead. Commercial and legal reasons are not something blogs have to be concerned about in the same way at all. So it becomes absurd to even make that comparison. Political blogs are like discussion forums and usenet groups. They’re unregulated and not subject to editorial, legal or commercial concerns. It feels dumb to even point this out. They’re just a bigger outlet for readers/viewers _commentary_. You can find all sorts of stuff in there, from idiocy to brilliancy and everything in between, depending on the direction the authors choose, what kind of commenters they get, what echo chambers form, etc. But who in their right mind would evern want to get their _news_ entirely from there?

This whole “blogs versus the media” is just a massive ego trip for people who think they can set up their own radio talk shows with a fraction of the costs and responsibilities that doing that would require.

Oh, another obvious point: no media, no matter what their corporate slogan is, can ever be 100% “accurate” or “fair” or “objective”. There is no such thing. Human beings are not robots, total objectivity is impossible even in the best good faith attempts. That goes even more for media, they never exist in some abstract vacuum, they are always inevitably influenced by the social and political environment they (ie. their editors, reporters, marketing team, etc.) operate in. The very _selection_ of what to report and/or comment on, nevermind the _how_ to report and comment on it, is already a first level of subjectivity with huge implications. Whether determined by editors or target audiences or marketing or geographic location or national interests or all of those things together. So terms like “objectivity” mean nothing. The relevant term is responsibility – again, professional, legal, editorial, commercial, etc. There lies the enormous difference between any form of mainstream media, in any country, and any form of personal instant publishing.

There you go, I’ll probably end up in some special circle of hell dedicated to people who repeat the bleeding obvious, but it’s still a few circles away from the one for people who pretend to completely ignore it.

117

Tim Worstall 01.02.05 at 3:36 pm

Dredging back into the memory banks what was interesting about the Sweden/Mississippi numbers was exactly what Sawicky doesn’t mention…that Sweden is poorer than almost all US states other than a few basket cases like Mississippi. I think that’s a much more interesting conversation than whether Glenn grabbed the wrong end of the stick or whether he should have apologised.
From my own experieince of screwing up and then apologising, not doing so seems to generate a lot more traffic and interest.

118

Walt Pohl 01.02.05 at 5:19 pm

Tim: Let me guess. You think bias to the left is everywhere, right? Even though the New York Times spent 4 years trying to run Bill Clinton out of Washington, even though ABC’s Nightline ran doctored video tapes to try to make Hillary Clinton look like she was lying about Whitewater, you think that the media is biased against you.

119

Patterico 01.02.05 at 7:17 pm

Motoko:

You said:

That would have been a more convincing argument if you yourself hadn’t written things here like: “You’re supposed to be some kinda smart guy, right? Your argument style doesn’t show it.”

I’m glad you made that comment. It tells me that I need to clarify what I was saying, because apparently it was ambiguous. My comment was not intended to convey the message: “You are dumb.” It was intended to convey the message: “I thought you were some kind of highly educated professor type. So why are you expressing yourself by calling people ‘slavering right wing hacks’?”

I don’t think my comment was condescending at all. I was simply calling Farrell on his over-the-top language.

Now I assume you’ll admit that my point about Yuval’s condescension was indeed compelling. (Right?)

On this Yuval thing, we’re talking past each other — or at least one of us is. I understand your point (and Yuval’s) perfectly:

Reynolds first provided those links as evidence of his claims about Sweden, but when they were refuted, he claimed they were just some stuff he linked to as interesting information, in the same way he links to Max’s post.

Your basic complaint seems to be: why wouldn’t Reynolds simply admit that he was wrong? Why did he pretend that he hadn’t relied on the link to make his argument? Why did he simply try to shift blame on to the linked piece?

This says to me that you seem to have completely missed my point.

My point was that he had admitted he was wrong — on his blog. He had admitted that he had relied on the piece to make his argument. He didn’t simply try to shift blame on the linked piece.

People can go to his actual blog post and make up their own minds. I happen to think that it’s pretty damn clear that he said he had made the argument himself, and that he conceded the point after being called on it.

Once you understand that, Yuval’s point becomes a clear slander. But people can decide for themselves. I just gave you the source. That’s one of the great thing about blogs: direct links to the source material.

120

Patterico 01.02.05 at 7:27 pm

Jason:

Reynolds is a less-funny Goldberg with a bigger readership, but he, and his fellow travelers, seriously seems to think he’s playing the part of an honest broker here.

I have no idea what that means. Reynolds has opinions, and he tells you what they are. If you are asserting that he is a professional whore for the Republican party, then one of two things is true: 1) you don’t read his blog sufficiently to give an informed opinion about his views, or 2) you are a liar.

Sorry to be so blunt, but that’s where we are.

A professional whore for a party doesn’t express disagreement with anything the party does. Reynolds does.

If you want to continue to argue with me about that, fine. Make the assertion that either: professional whores regularly disagree with their party; or that Reynolds has never disagreed with the Republicans.

If you choose the former, then I’ll enjoy watching you do the two-step of explaining that position.

If you choose the latter, I’ll be happy to prove you wrong — but only if you promise that, once I prove you wrong, you’ll then come on here and admit it.

All of this assumes that you have the courage to return to this thread and respond to my points at all.

121

Tim 01.02.05 at 9:02 pm

walt: Tim: Let me guess.

Don’t guess, Walt. Ask. And read before making false assertions. Scroll up and visit the links I’ve provided to Rhetorica and PressThink. I’ll thank you not to project your narrow minded ideological bigotry onto me until you’ve at least done your homework.

You think bias to the left is everywhere, right?

Bias to the left, bias to the right, structural bias, infrastructure bias, bias, bias, bias …

Even though the New York Times spent 4 years trying to run Bill Clinton out of Washington, …

So what? What is that supposed to prove, Walt? That Clinton was too liberal for the NYT? Not liberal enough? Too corrupt for even ideological comrades? An innocent victim of the VRWC based at the NYT? What exactly? Why bring it up?

… even though ABC’s Nightline ran doctored video tapes to try to make Hillary Clinton look like she was lying about Whitewater …

See above.

… you think that the media is biased against you.

Sure, Walt, play with that strawman. Toss it around. See how it feels. Feel good? That’s nice. Everyone should have an outlet for their make believe demons.

122

Seth Finkelstein 01.02.05 at 9:16 pm

Tim: “One time, there actually was a wolf,” is an allusion to the wolf parable. It would be silly for anyone to assert that Dan Rather or CBS has never made a mistake before (though using the forged memos was obviously an enormous one). However, the idea is that there’s no overarching institutional critique to be had in the characteristic response when one takes into account the characteristic wolf-crying. That is, it’s completely understandable for Dan Rather and CBS to react as if they’re being smeared by partisan hacks, because a great deal of the time, they are. That’s not mystifying at all. Perhaps this is a driver of differing reactions in understanding – not grasping how much distracting partisan noise is generated, drowning the occasional bit of signal. Sure, there may be a code somewhere which says roughly “Every cry of *WOLF!* should be fully investigated with courtesy and respect”. But there’s little moral high ground in complaining that doesn’t happen, but the code says it should.

123

Tim 01.02.05 at 10:14 pm

Seth:

However, the idea is that there’s no overarching institutional critique to be had in the characteristic response when one takes into account the characteristic wolf-crying. That is, it’s completely understandable for Dan Rather and CBS to react as if they’re being smeared by partisan hacks, because a great deal of the time, they are.

How comfortable are you with that excuse? How far are you willing to extend it? How much political, corporate, professional and media arrogance, high handedness and misbehavior are you willing to excuse because they have vociferous and noisy critics? How often do you want your lunch eaten by wolves while you’re pointing fingers at wolf-boy?

That is, it’s completely understandable for [insert favorite villian] to react as if they’re being smeared by [insert favorite defender of "T" Truth and all that's good], because a great deal of the time, they are.

124

Bill Trippe 01.02.05 at 10:52 pm

At the risk of being accused of self-promotion, I offer the following idea for the benefit of the blogosphere:

http://counterpundit.blogspot.com/2005/01/calling-all-programmers.html

125

Seth Finkelstein 01.02.05 at 11:00 pm

Tim, that’s a deep question, “How much … are you willing to excuse …”. I suppose my reply is that in general it means a moral theory is needed, and thus again, pointing out shortcoming relative to perfection doesn’t go very far. Which leaves us back where we all started at the top of the thread, about responsibility, and what inevitable lapses are permissible (just to note, my own views have to do with things like the power of the critic vs. the power of the target, but of course that’s just my take).

126

Laurence Caromba 01.03.05 at 12:43 am

Farrell is missing the point completely. Sure, so Power Line is biased. So is Crooked Timber, and 60 Minutes, and everyone else. The difference between blogs and the mainstream media is that the mainstream media prefers keep it’s biases covert, while the blogosphere touts them openly.

Reporters hide under the pretence that they’re “objective”. The blogosphere makes no such pretences. Crooked Timber is a smart, well-written, and often interesting blog. They’re also biased towards the political left, and I bear that in mind when I read them. Power Line is also an intelligent and interesting blog, and they’re unabashedly right-wing; something I also take into consideration when judging their veracity.

CBS don’t do that. They con their viewers into believing they’re “unbiased”, and then try to persuade them with subjective arguments while their defences are down. This sort of covert bias is far more harmful than the open bias of blogs and opinion columnists, precisely because the viewer doesn’t go in with fair warning.

Bloggers believe in disclosing their biases, and most do. The mainstream media claims to believe in “objectivity”, but in reality is is biased as anyone else. It’s the mainstream media that is being hypocritical here, not the blogs, and it is certainly no sin for the blogs to point this out.

127

Tim 01.03.05 at 12:46 am

Seth: Which leaves us back where we all started at the top of the thread, …

Seems like a good place then to thank you, once again, for an enjoyable and civil discussion.

And to wish you the very best in 2005!

128

Walt Pohl 01.03.05 at 12:58 am

Tim: If I have misunderstood your point, then I apologize.

129

Tim 01.03.05 at 1:56 am

Thanks Walt.

130

Russkie 01.03.05 at 9:42 am

There’s really no point in trying to respond to Henry’s “Update”.

I think that Henry is misrepresenting Glenn Reynolds and that Henry’s “simple English” run-on argument is much more convoluted than what Reynolds is saying.

But as someone said this thread is already way too “meta”.

131

abb1 01.03.05 at 2:11 pm

Bloggers believe in disclosing their biases, and most do. The mainstream media claims to believe in “objectivity”, but in reality is is biased as anyone else. It’s the mainstream media that is being hypocritical here, not the blogs, and it is certainly no sin for the blogs to point this out.

It’s not a sin, no. And it wouldn’t necessarily be hypocritical – if Glenn Reynolds said something like: ‘yes, I am a liar and a hack – and they are too only they don’t admit it and I do’.

The only problem is that Reynolds would never admit being a hack and a fraud, he is a self-righteous hack.

132

McDuff 01.03.05 at 3:48 pm

Good to see that the two sides of the blogosphere are united on this. I mean, I don’t read Instapundit, but I can only assume that he links to Brad DeLong’s “Why oh why can’t we have a better press corps?” series on a regular basis.

It’s only right and fair that we should expect our media to fact check the press releases of government institutions, rather than blindly printing them and therefore acting as tools of the establishment. That they don’t do that is shameful, so I’m pleased that both Brad DeLong and Glenn Reynolds can join forces here.

133

Cranky Observer 01.03.05 at 4:59 pm

Hmmmmm…

Let the fence-mending begin. According to a Broadcasting & Cable source in Washington, D.C., CBS News president Andrew Heyward, along with Washington bureau chief Janet Leissner, recently met with White House communications director Dan Bartlett, in part to repair chilly relations with the Bush administration.

CBS News’ popularity at the White House—never high to begin with—plunged further in the wake of Dan Rather’s discredited 60 Minutes story on George Bush’s National Guard service.

An incentive for making nice is the impending report from the two-member panel investigating CBS’s use of now-infamous documents for the 60 Minutes piece.

Heyward was “working overtime to convince Bartlett that neither CBS News nor Rather had a vendetta against the White House,” our source says, “and from here on out would do everything it could to be fair and balanced.” CBS declined to comment.

Fox News in sync? Check. CBS emasculated? Check.

Cranky

134

Blixa 01.04.05 at 7:26 pm

For crying out loud. Two updates and I still have no freaking idea what point the author of this post thinks he’s making. What is there to walk away with here?

First there’s a straw man that Glenn Reynolds, or someone, thinks that blogs (WEB LOGS!!) will, or should, or something, “replace” ALL THE OTHER MEDIA. Um. What?? I don’t know of anyone who believes this or anything remotely like it. The author tosses out a few links that, he says, gives this “impression”. I followed them. They don’t. What else is there to say? Believing that (generally speaking) web logs are rising and MSM is falling in influence, and that the former can play a nice healthy role in helping “police”/factcheck the latter, keeping it more honest, *even making MSM better*, etc., is not the same as believing that the former will “replace” the latter! It’s just not.

Second the author criticizes Glenn, in particular, for complaining about liberal bias in the media. Why is Glenn not allowed to do this? Because he’s biased himself. This all might be a persuasive retort to Glenn and other rightwing “hacks” if their objection to MSM was that it is biased per se, i.e. that the point is that Humans Aren’t Allowed To Be Biased. But, as far as I can tell, *and many many people have already made this point*, it’s not!! The complaint is not that MSM ‘is biased’, it’s that MSM is biased *and constantly pretends not to be*, trying to pass off its biased output as “objective”. Do you understand the difference because acknowledged bias and unacknowledged bias? And why some people might think it important to point the latter out? Even biased people? (*Especially* biased people!)

You can think the difference unimportant. Well, I disagree, and I suppose Glenn does too, *and that’s the actual typical complaint* which you pretend to be addressing. Ok? It’s one thing to think that complaint petty, or wrong, or whatever. That’s your right. But it’s quite another to IGNORE the actual complaint and REFUSE to acknowledge it when people explain to you, over and over, what their complaint is.

A straw man, and another straw man. Is there anything else contained in this post that I am missing? Will there continue to be pointless republished Updates that completely ignore these (entirely unoriginal) points I’ve made to you, as so many others have before me?

135

Tom Doyle 01.05.05 at 4:55 am

I agree with Jason McCullough and Bill Trippe.

Jason referred to “rhetorical questions about whether we should do away with freedom of the press.” This is the item to which he linked:

(IP=plain text, Quoted by IP=italics, my comments=[bracketed])

INSTAPUNDIT.COM May 18, 2004

JOHN O’SULLIVAN looks at last week’s media goofs like the fake Iraq rape photos and general tendencies in reporting and observes:

Neither the media’s vaunted “skepticism” nor simple fact-checking on the Internet were employed by the papers. The fakes were, in the old Fleet Street joke, “too good to check.” As Mark Steyn argued Sunday, the journalists wanted to believe they were real. Indeed, it is worse than that — since the fraud was discovered and the Mirror editor fired, he has become a heroic figure in British circles hostile to Blair and the war.

Admittedly, reporters and editors make mistakes. But when all the mistakes are on the side of opposing the liberation of Iraq, and none of the mistakes favor the United States or Britain or Bush or Blair, it tells you something.

Namely, which side they’re on.

Try as one might, it’s getting hard to avoid that sort of inference. Not that they actively favor the terrorists, of course. They just view beating their domestic political enemies as more important.

[Note: The above item correctly refers to “fake Iraqi rape photos.” The “sort of inference” Reynolds draws from these mistakes is not “hard to avoid,” it is preposterous.” TD]

UPDATE: Related thoughts from A.M. Rosenthal:

Since the latest torture story, many editors have failed to present background stories about the millions killed by Saddam.


They worry about being accused of minimizing the brutalization of Iraqi prisoners by Americans, if they recall in print the masses of people Saddam slaughtered.

These journalists are truly embarrassing.

But not, alas, embarrassed. (Via Jeff Jarvis.)

ANOTHER UPDATE: And here’s a question: Freedom of the press, as it exists today (and didn’t exist, really, until the 1960s) is unlikely to survive if a majority — or even a large and angry minority — of Americans comes to conclude that the press is untrustworthy and unpatriotic. How far are we from that point?

[While Henry wrote “Glenn Reynolds complains regularly about liberal bias in the media,” I don't read the above as registering such a complaint (this is not to say that Reynolds doesn't complain of liberal bias elsewhere).

Nor does he point out any factual inaccuracy.

Rather, Reynold’s argues that the coverage of the Abu Grabib torture revelations shows, or suggests, that “reporters,” “editors,” “journalists,” and “the press” are on the wrong “side;” "they" should be “embarassed;” are "untrustworthy and unpatriotic", or might rightly be judged so by “a large and angry minority of...Americans.” In which case "freedom of the press as it exists today ... is unlikely to survive."

I’m not familiar enough with Reynold’s writing to judge whether this piece is “hypocritical,” but the views he expresses and/or endorses here are indeed reprehensible. ]

Comments on this entry are closed.