Sunday, June 11, 2006

Mainstream press reports truth on bloggers for once


Mr. Reid added: "One of the reasons I so admire them is they have the ability to spread the truth like no entities I've dealt with in recent years. We could never have won the battle to stop privatization of Social Security without them."

[...] As became clear from the rather large and diverse crowd here, the blogosphere has become for the left what talk radio has been for the right: a way of organizing and communicating to supporters. Blogging is nowhere near the force among Republicans as it is among Democrats, and talk radio is a much more effective tool for Republicans. (well, it is Wonkette):

The crowd is older and more professional than coverage of the blogosphere might lead one to expect. In the session on recruiting progressive candidates for local office, there's an ER doctor, an AIDS activist, a high-school teacher and a representative from the Organic Consumers Association. There are some that conform to type: thirtyish and pale, sloppily dressed and bleary-eyed. Those are the journalists. There are a lot of them. One organizer put the ratio of conference-goers to reporters at eight to one, which seemed high until I visited one workshop that managed to score drive-bys from the Chicago Tribune, the National Review, the Weekly Standard, Salon, The New Republic and the American Prospect. At one point the room held more representatives from the New York Times (three) than workshop leaders (two).

Emphasis mine. There was something a bit surreal in all these journalists covering our discussions of their own failures. Matt Bai was eloquent and plaintive on the subject during a panel on political journalism, telling us that "sweeping statements about failures of political journalism are inaccurate and unfair and beneath the level of acuity you bring to other issues." He complained that we understate the complexity and humility they bring to their jobs, and said "I'm tired of being judged because of Judy Miller."

We absorbed these comments and agreed that for every failure in the press, someone somewhere got the story right and deserved acclaim. But then a blogger got up and restated the issue: our criticism is not about comparing Matt Bai to Judy Miller. It's about complete lack of accountability when they do fail, and the huge consequences flowing from those failures.

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