Monday, February 14, 2005

Bill Press on Eason Jordan

Cable talk shows continue their coverage of the blogosphere and the Eason Jordan story. In particular MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough tonight invited Hugh Hewitt, Radley Balko, Ana Marie Cox, and Bill Press to discuss the issues at play. Bill Press led off the discussion and immediately tried to establish his blogging street cred by point out that he is, in fact, a blogger. However, he immediately began under cutting himself by introducing this caveat to the Jordan story, “if that is what Eason Jordan said.” (this blogger is sure that Press added the emphasis himself) only to try and redeem himself by saying that an MSM voice who doesn’t read blogs “is so last century.”

Press then went on to list a number of things that the MSM has that the blogosphere lacks. He said they (bloggers) have “no credentials, no sources, no rules, no editors, and no accountability” and that thus “they are going to make mistakes.” What Press overlooks, and lamentably the well credentialed members of the blogosphere failed to point out, is that not only do many bloggers have sources of their own, but that the MSM is the biggest source for every blogger.

In theory and practice our sources are well credentialed, with many important rules, editors and accountability. What Press doesn’t say is that the blogosphere’s biggest successes to date are when the rules and layers of protection designed to separate MSM from bloggers break down, if only sales people across this country could get all their leads this well qualified. Adding to this would be the well chronicled position about how bloggers and commenters police themselves and how many of the leading figures in the blogosphere’s biggest stories are often well recognized as experts in the fields they are commenting on at the time.

Of course, Press really cannot say these things about the relationship between the blogosphere and MSM; at least, not if he wants to continue to be an important member in good standing. In one important way, he does distinguish himself from Eason Jordan in not forgetting this. Plus, he did actually say “mainstream media” twice.


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