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Media, ethics, and journalism. What works. What doesn't.


Jeffrey Dvorkin

Monday, October 13, 2008

Blogging and MSM: A New Partnership Needed

Could the news be any grimmer? Let's not answer that and tempt the gods. But the only growth industry these days seems to be political invective and nastiness. Much of this is done in the blogosphere where a strange character called Andy Martin seems to be single-handedly responsible for some of the most poisonous invective about Barack Obama.

The mainstream media (MSM) acts as the enabler for this serial poisoner by giving him airtime on Fox and by drawing attention to him, even as they point out his lunatic background as a compulsive lawsuit filer. He has been described as, among other things, a "vexatious litigant."

While there have always been people like Martin around desperate to draw attention to themselves, never has there been such easy access to the general public.

Yet, there is some hope. The blogosphere (aside from of those embedded inside the MSM) has some amazing journalistic aspects. Talkingpointsmemo.com and Daily Kos to name two. Yes, they are critics from the left. No doubt, should there be an Obama administration, there will be smart and crisp blogs from the right but none come to mind right now.

What these smart blogs do is the leg work that used to be done by the MSM. What the MSM might consider is finding ways to identify the best of the blogs, take their information (with attribution, of course) then verify and contextualize their stories.

If the MSM is going to survive as more than just filler or places where a poor imitation of the blogosphere occurs, that partnership must start. Ideally the blogs will be the informational foot soldiers and intel gatherers and the MSM will be the place where it's all put together for the benefit of the public.

Who will take that first step?

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