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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, December 18, 2006

"Quod erat demonstrandum"

One phrase kept going through my head reading the latest post on Media Nation -- upset bloggers taking swipes at Dan Kennedy-- an old phrase from high school math: "quod erat demonstrandum" or "this has been proven."

This" is that bloggers are not journalists who don't follow the basic rules of, well, fact checking. The attacks on Kennedy as a supporter of the war were vituperative -- and wholly off the mark, if only anyone had bothered to check for the reality as journalists do.

The irony is thick, of course, because this attack is based on Kennedy's position in the Greater Boston debate that the media cannot and should not fact check everything written by others in preparing a commentary.

The blogosphere -- at least many of the folks taking part in the debate on Blue Mass. Group -- feels otherwise. Fact checking is crucial to media credibility because why should we trust the New York Times.

But when it comes to characterizing Kennedy's position on the war, some bloggers didn't feel the need to, as journalists say, check the clips. If they had, The Boston Phoenix, where Kennedy toiled for many years before turning to academia, would have provided a treasure trove of clips to disprove that theory.

But the attacks do suggest I am correct in saying journalists can be bloggers, but bloggers are not journalists.

"Quod erat demonstrandum."

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

that the media cannot and should not fact check everything written by others in preparing a commentary

Sigh. Everything? He couldn't be bothered to fact check a single source. Imo, if you're doing a "commentary" piece, since you're giving an opinion and offering a perscription, ya know, maybe you should have SOME knowledge of what you're talking about. Not a whole lot, but "duuude, I can't be bothered to read a whole paragraph, know how many words are in that, I'll just make stuff up," well, okay, it's a free country, but your credibility will probably take a hit. A fourth grader who only bothered to use one source that a 5 minute google search would have disproved will get an F, but 4th graders are actually expected to do their jobs.

This" is that bloggers are not journalists who don't follow the basic rules of, well, fact checking

Right, and apparently, neither do journalists, and that's okay because fact checking is wicked stupid, except when it's not. I really don't get the point, unless it's that "journalists" are annointed by God and therefore don't have to worry about silly extraneous trivialities like facts, ethics, knowledge, or reporting, and that's fine, but bloggers (who at best reach a tiny fraction of "journalists'" audience) have an absolute responsibility to do journalists' work for them so they don't look stupid and can just lie in the sun cashing big checks.Am I close?

bloggers are not journalists

And with such low standards for "journalists," we'd better hope not.

December 18, 2006 8:04 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Sorry, but it comes down to one basic question: Why have one set of rules for journalists -- which you seem to fervently believe are necessary -- and not the same for bloggers?

If you're not prepared to abide by the same standards you expect for others what does that say?

December 19, 2006 4:53 AM  

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