Blogging the Journalism, Reporting the Bloggers

So the Tent, where I wound up holed up most of the afternoon once the speeches started, having exhausted my battery and figured out that my spare was fried, was like a zoo. Bloggers being the exotic animals therein; I was interviewed several times which was trippy (I was well-trained to stay OUT of the story, not jump into it) and filmed by I don’t know who a whole lot for b-roll that doubtless will show up in some CNN segment about “Who is on Your Blogosphere?” or “Your YouTube — Show Me It.”

Upstairs, Arianna Huffington was talking to David Sirota (the other new crush of the day; damn, can he blow a brick wall down) and Paul Krugman about progressive voices in media and she said something I thought illustrated this very well. She said that new media was actually taking back the original purpose of journalism — the search for the truth. She said modern day journalists (and I think this is truer of the punditry than of Joe Schmoe working for the Beaver County Tidbit) have cast themselves as “Pontius Pilate media,” pretending to a detachment that is not objectivity but is instead a desire to cover their asses. “They see the journalistic role as neutral rather than as bringing out the truth.”

And I was looking at all these people filiming people writing and taking pictures and talking to each other and to various movers and shakers in the party, and wanting very much to tell the TV hairdos and the local print folks, look, we do the same thing.Sinfonian related a tale on his radio show (on which I blathered a bit after the coffee had begun to wear off) about being stuck in the hotel lobby with a Tampa Tribune columnist who was typically dismissive and defensive about bloggers, talking about how we leech off traditional media while running them down. For some, that’s certainly true.

For others, though, we’re taking our inspiration from the best of them, and shoving all the rest aside. We’re doing the same things they’re doing, we’re looking around and seeing what we see, and telling people who aren’t here what it looks and sounds and smells and yes, feels like, putting you in a room you’re not in. That’s all this is, that’s all it ever was, and if we have to be more aggressive than our salaried counterparts, there’s a part of me that is very sad about that, that we have to do the things that aren’t being done because we can’t count on what had once been a reliably adversarial muckraking press.

But it’s overshadowed by the part of me that’s proud, that we are doing these things, because they need doing, and I don’t care if you’re doing major investigative work like TPM or taking funny pictures of protesters (like I will be once I find those Knights of Columbus dudes again), you’re doing the same thing. You’re telling stories. That’s all this is, from its roots to today, that’s all it’s ever been.

A.

8 thoughts on “Blogging the Journalism, Reporting the Bloggers

  1. virgotex says:

    I wish Arianna would pay some of those progressive voices she like to have work for her. For no money.

  2. BuggyQ says:

    I feel bad for the old media. I used to respect them, and I believe that they have accomplished great things. Taking down Nixon would have won them a place in my heart all by itself.
    But they have failed to live up to that example. So given the option of reading TPM, which is doing some amazing original reporting, or reading the WaPo, I’ll start with TPM. Because at least there, I know that what I’m reading isn’t getting filtered through corporate types who want to maintain the status quo.

  3. Gummo says:

    As I said yesterday in the chat room of Sinfonian’s radio show while you were on (whew, that’s one long subordinate clause!), sadly, left-wing bloggers have been forced by the laziness and complicity of our modern news cabals to take up one of the most basic and important functions of true journalism — fact-checking.
    With TV news reduced to fake “he said-she said” evenhandedness, no matter how outrageous the statement (“Senator Apeshit said today that the world is only 3 years old and he carries the proof in his beard; now here’s Senator Nutzyfagin with an opposing view.”), it has fallen to bloggers to do the research, pull the old quotes and otherwise DO REAL JOURNALISM.
    And for that, I profoundly thank you all.

  4. BuggyQ says:

    By the way, I just sent a nice note to NPR telling them to get the hell over the whole “Will Hillary voters vote for Obama?” story. Sweet Jeebus froglegs, if I had to hear one more rehashing of that story this morning on the way to work, I was going to drive straight to our local NPR affiliate and deliver the message personally.
    I closed with, “If I wanted drama, I’d be watching Gossip Girl.”

  5. virgotex says:

    The old media assumed they were directing the village square discourse. Then the assumed that even though they weren’t completely directing it, they were the only ones playing by the rules and telling it like it “really” was, then they realized that just maybe… they were losing their hold on the village square entirely, and they had to accept that yeah, this was all about money, so it was okay that the only people taking them as gospel were the un-wired/poor/and old, but at least their sponsors could still sell hot dogs to the great unwashed, and then/now, they’ve realized they don’t know what the f*ck they’re talking about, hot dog sales are down, and they ARE NOT COOL anymore.
    boo-fucking-hoo

  6. Anonymous says:

    A. Whose truth?
    B. One of the main problems with the blog world is it plays into the punk rock assumption that anybody can have a band, which is cool and true but eventually you have to be able to bang out a tune.
    C. The other BIG problem: Most of you do this shit for FREE. Call me a capitalist, fine. I can dig it. But people shouldn’t expect everything for fucking FREE!!! People deserve to be paid.
    D. Babylon, baby, If you like that, fine. Turn into a pillar of salt. See if I care.

  7. pansypoo says:

    just have to kill the teevee gnews.

  8. spocko says:

    (“Senator Apeshit said today that the world is only 3 years old and he carries the proof in his beard; now here’s Senator Nutzyfagin with an opposing view.”),
    This is just so funny I had to repeat it Gummo.
    How do I know this? “I carry the proof in my beard!”
    Love it. THANK YOU GUMMO!

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