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May 8, 2005
Welcome to the Monkey HouseBy Greyhawk
Adam Cohen, writing in the New York Times, displays the most stunning ignorance of the blogosphere I've ever seen in 'print'.
His main complaint is that blogs lack ethics. He offers no specific examples of which blogs are guilty of the various shortcomings he describes so we must assume his accusations are across the board. To be fair, he does praise The Daily Kos ("brilliant") and Joshua Micah Marshall ("entertaining and influential") and gets a quick plug in for Ariana Huffington's future "all star" blog. On the other hand, he credits Drudge for "pushing stories". (Memo to Cohen: The Drudge Report is not a blog.)
Let's quickly address one of his more witless comments: "Many bloggers make little effort to check their information, and think nothing of posting a personal attack without calling the target first - or calling the target at all."
He's trying to create the impression of blogs as being akin to The National Enquirer, of course. And I'll note that I didn't call Mr. Cohen before writing this. You see, I have his commentary before me now - he's on the record. That's what blogs do when dealing with media outrages, respond. I suppose I could contact him for clarification on this point: is he really clueless about the blogosphere, and therefore wrong in his accusations, or does he assume his readers are clueless, and is willing to deceive them? There's no other explanation for what follows.
But more bloggers, and blog readers, are starting to ask whether at least the most prominent blogs with the highest traffic shouldn't hold themselves to the same high standards to which they hold other media.
Mr. Rather's and Mr. Jordan's misdeeds would most likely not have landed them in trouble in the world of bloggers, where few rules apply.A patent deception. The blogosphere is self policing. Cohen's call for fixing a problem would be noble - if there was a problem to fix. But bloggers have less mercy on each other than they do on media types. Perhaps Cohen wants to create the deception that there's some unwritten rule to the contrary. If anyone can support his argument, please do. By the way, bear in mind that if you disagree with me in the comments or post your rebuttal on your own blog you're proving my point.
His premise falls flat. A series of accusations offered up without any evidence in support. His conclusion - invoking hypocrisy - is Orwellian:
Before long, leading blogs could have ethics guidelines and prominently posted corrections policies.The blogosphere thrives because the mainstream media has failed to police itself. The blogosphere is self-policing and has been since day one - the endless variety of perspective, opinions, and voices ensures it. Cohen's effort to disparage those who are replacing him, to maintain some control of a dwindling readership and a diminishing importance is unsurprising but feeble. He's shouting against a rising tide; the days of the New York Times' ability to shape the news are fading fast.
Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that the media can spread peace but also foment violence, and he called on journalists to exercise responsibility to ensure objective reports that respect human dignity and the common good.Heh. Indeed.
Update (Hat tip: Citizen Z link below): Ouch! (Language warning.)
And there are great quotes at Rightwing Nuthouse (also linked below): "Whatever ethics we have, we bring to the table ready made, forged by our life experiences and upbringing." Something the Cohen types never consider. Read the whole thing, the last line especially is a must - I'm all for it.
Something occurs to me late in the game: as more reporters learn they can get big hit counts on their otherwise unread pages by insulting bloggers will it become common practice? If so, is it ethical? I always wonder about this subject when Powerline links that hopeless putz at the Star-Tribune from time to time. Let's see if "blog-bashing editorials" (read that as "link begging editorials") become the next big thing for the fading mainstream.
Postscript: A Mother's Day hat tip to Mrs Greyhawk. Her daily Dawn Patrol roundups of news and commentary are the finest source of blogworthy material on the net.
Posted by Greyhawk / May 8, 2005 3:07 PM | Permalink
It's often been said that blogs are "new media." I guess so. I mean, you can say that blogs are new media in the sense that no one has ever challenged the primacy of the mainstream media before. And the ease with which you can start a blog, build tr... Read More
Do newspaper columnists have a published Code of Ethics, and if so where do I go to file a complaint? Read More
This is rich: The New York Times editorial page delivers a lecture to bloggers on ethics -- the last journalistic organization in this country qualified to do so. There are two paragraphs in this piece that are particularly laughable. The first: ... Read More
In case you missed these, be sure to check Mudville for some really great posts: Welcome to the Monkey House (about a New York Times journalist questioning blogger ethics) Read More
In case you missed these, be sure to check Mudville for some really great posts: Welcome to the Monkey House (about a New York Times journalist questioning blogger ethics) Closing the Chapel Doors (about claims of religious discrimination at the Read More
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
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