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Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Oh, Those Awful Bloggers
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:42 am

Kathleen Parker takes on blogging in her latest column, which includes the following paragraph:

There’s something frankly creepy about the explosion we now call the Blogosphere - the big-bang “electroniverse” where recently wired squatters set up new camps each day. As I write, the number of “blogs” (Web logs) and “bloggers”(those who blog) is estimated in the tens of millions worldwide.

I always find such pronouncements by persons who are entrenched part of the traditional press (in this case, a syndicated columnist) to be self-serving and odd, not to mention usually ill-informed.

I could go on, but James Joyner has already done it for me. So: what he said.

(Ok, I lied-read James, but I couldn’t resist further commentary)

I will say that as a social scientist I also find the kind of gross generalities that she engages in are most annoying. To conflate the entire Blogosphere into millions of roughly co-equal parts is simply silly, as anyone who know anything about blogging knows. Plus, in terms of comparability (and this is a point Joyner makes as well) there have been no bloggers who could be logically compared to Jayson Blair, Dan Rather, Eason Jordan or Judith Miller. If one is going to engage in comparative analysis, one has to figure out whether one has truly comparable data or not.

Along those same lines, she mixes type by comparing reporters to commentators. On balance, blogging is about commentary and analysis, not reporting. As such, direct comparisons between top bloggers and reporters for top newspapers is a malformed comparison.

And if one is going to make generalized conclusions such as follows, then it might be useful to name names, rather than make nebulous charges:

we should beware and resist the rest of the ego-gratifying rabble who contribute only snark, sass and destruction.

We can’t silence them, but for civilization’s sake - and the integrity of information by which we all live or die - we can and should ignore them.

Are there annoying, vicious bloggers? Oh, yes. Of course, in some cases, the venom is in the eye of the partisan. Of course, there are some pretty obnoxious TV pundit and talk radio hosts. Kos says some pretty mean, obnoxious things about his partisan foes, but then again, so do folks like Al Franken and Rush Limbaugh. What’s the difference, aside from the medium in which the the statement are being made?

And from the middle of the piece is this odd statement:

What Golding demonstrated - and what we’re witnessing as the Blogosphere’s offspring multiply - is that people tend to abuse power when it is unearned and will bring down others to enhance themselves.

No blogger has an automatic audience. One has to work to get readership and we all started with zero readers per hour, day or week, unless we had some claim to media fame pre-blogging (e.g., Michelle Malkin as a columnist, Hugh Hewitt as a talk show host). One of the virtues of the Blogosphere is that it as close to a perfect marketplace of ideas as once can create. Everyone can speak and if one has something interesting to say, and one works hard, one will get noticed. As such, the only ones with any “power” have earned it.

Ultimately, this column really doesn’t make much sense. I think we would all agree that there are rude, nasty bloggers-and I, on balance, avoid them. However, since Parker doesn’t name names or give specific examples, I am not rally sure what she is getting at. If she is referring to the fact that there are popular sites, like Daily Kos and LGF that often engage in partisan invective, fine: say so. However, I remain unconvinced that this is the domain solely of blogs. There is plenty of partisan invective via print, TV and radio.

Filed under: Blogging, MSM | |Send TrackBack

The Florida Masochist linked with The Knucklehead of the Day award
The Unabrewer linked with War on Blogs
PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts linked with Oh, Those Awful Bloggers
Outside The Beltway linked with Lord of the Blogs
A Knight’s Blog » Those Mean Ol’ Bloggers linked with [...] nist Kathleen Parker takes blogs to task. As a result, James Joyner takes Parker to task (as do I). No Comments » No comments yet. RSS [...]


  1. Lord of the Blogs

    Kathleen Parker thinks the world is going to Hell in a handbasket because of “bloggies” who are “the less visible, insidious enemies of decency, humanity and civility - the angry offspring of narcissism’s quickie marriage…

    Trackback by Outside The Beltway — Wednesday, December 28, 2005 @ 12:07 pm

  2. People only abuse power when it is “unearned”? surely not.

    Even if that could possibly be true, Is she saying that all people in traditional media have “earned” their way automatically, and therefore don’t abuse their power?

    Questionable premises — but even more questionable leaving them implied.

    Comment by Steven L. — Wednesday, December 28, 2005 @ 1:14 pm

  3. Oh, Those Awful Bloggers

    Kathleen Parker takes on blogging in her latest column, which includes the following paragraph:
    There’s something frankly creepy about the explosion we now call the Blogosphere - the big-bang “electroniverse” where recently wired squ…

    Trackback by PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts — Wednesday, December 28, 2005 @ 3:06 pm

  4. […] nist Kathleen Parker takes blogs to task. As a result, James Joyner takes Parker to task (as do I).

    No Comments

    No comments yet.

    RSS […]

    Pingback by A Knight’s Blog » Those Mean Ol’ Bloggers — Wednesday, December 28, 2005 @ 3:07 pm

  5. War on Blogs

    Kathleen Parker apparently has her panties in a bunch because some amateur bloggers are as talented as professional media commenters. Not me, of course; I suck. Or I'm at least in a funk. But the beauty of the blogosphere is that others take up th…

    Trackback by The Unabrewer — Thursday, December 29, 2005 @ 12:06 am

  6. The Knucklehead of the Day award

    Today’s winner is syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker.

    Trackback by The Florida Masochist — Thursday, December 29, 2005 @ 6:29 am

  7. And where did the conservative Kathleen get the idea to compare bloggers to the stranded kids in “Lord of the Flies”?

    Carolyn Kay

    Comment by Carolyn Kay — Friday, December 30, 2005 @ 3:48 am

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