Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Blogging vs Journalism, and Kevin Drum

As you know, I have previously expressed doubts about the usefulness of blogging and its inadequacy in replacing real journalism -- which more and more, as traditional newspapers expire, people think blogging is supposed to do.

Here's a perfect example of what I'm talking about:

Kevin Drum, writes, as MotherJones.com's main blogger:
Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In the Water

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE TO GO BACK IN THE WATER....She's b-a-a-a-a-ck! And she wants you to know that she's not just a smarmy, pathetically ignorant right-wing attack dog whose 15 minutes expired three months ago. In fact:

Gov. Sarah Palin believes all Americans must work together for the future, regardless of their party affiliation. Gov. Palin is the official chair of SarahPac, and its supporters are Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and those unaffiliated with any political party.

Roger that. I'm sure there are just loads of Democrats who are signing up to support Sarah. I can't wait to see the list.

Kevin can't wait to see the list.

But, as a "blogger," he apparently will just sit back and wait until this list is delivered to him.

If it is, maybe he'll dare to comment on it. If not, he'll surely ignore his curiousity and move on to the next subject -- cats or something, whatever he falls across at 8:57 in the morning, Pacific Time when he's on the line.

But don't count on anything.

It never seems to occur to Drum that he himself might be the one to contact the Palin camp and actually ask the question, who are the Democrats supporting Palin?

It's a good question -- I want to know too. So why can't Kevin make a phone call or two -- or six -- to Alaska and find out? Is Mother Jones not paying his phone expenses? Are phone calls to Alaska really that expensive anyway? (No, they're not.)

So what's keeping Kevin Drum from this very small investigation, from a couple of cheap phone calls? Simply the cojones to dare to ask?

It's laziness. It's complacency. It's the blogger mentality.

Bloggers think someone else needs to do the research, and they're just a typing monkey who repeats what they read, with maybe clever thought added (and maybe not).

Oh, and ten times the readership.

This is exactly why blogging will never replace journalism -- and why it's a crime that any blogger gets paid more than a few $K/yr to spout their opinion -- it's based on nothing.

Do you people want facts, or just guesses? Do you want commenters afraid to make a simple phone call to a governor's office, or do you want people who will give you an answer or two?

Honestly, I can' tell.

1 comment:

John Quiggin said...

The general point is right. The big distinction between journalists and bloggers is that journalists do interviews by phone or in person, and report the results. Non-journalists, including bloggers, don't do this.

But the cheap shot against Kevin Drum (whose point was obviously a snarky prediction that few Democrats will in fact support Palin, and not a sincere expression of impatience for information) does not help here.