08/31/2007 11:11 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Another Stupid Article About Blogs

This is a week or so old, but in the LA Times, journalism prof Michael Skube writes a meaningless and silly article
that argues, more or less, that bloggers are all opinion, no fact,
and that's a waste of everyone's time. Title? "Blogs: All the noise
that fits: The hard-line opinions on weblogs are no substitute for
the patient fact-finding of reporters."

His conclusion is:

The more important the story, the more incidental our
opinions become. Something larger is needed: the patient sifting of
fact, the acknowledgment that assertion is not evidence and, as the
best writers understand, the depiction of real life. Reasoned
argument, as well as top-of-the-head comment on the blogosphere, will
follow soon enough, and it should. But what lodges in the memory, and
sometimes knifes us in the heart, is the fidelity with which a writer
observes and tells. The word has lost its luster, but we once called
that reporting.

Which I agree with, except the implication that bloggers provide top-
of-the-head, but not reasoned, argument. Some do, some don't.

But check out this outstanding logical leap:

Moulitsas [of KOS]
foresees bloggers becoming the watchdogs that watch the watchdog: "We
need to keep the media honest, but as an institution, it's important
that they exist and do their job well." The tone is telling: breezy,
confident, self-congratulatory. Subtly, it implies bloggers have all
the liberties of a traditional journalist but few of the

How do you get from the quote, which says, "someone needs to keep the
professional media honest" to the conclusion, "bloggers want to be
called journalists but don't want the obligations" ??

The point is, professional journalists have done a dismal job of
covering important issues (eg, WMD in Iraq) in the past, say, 5
years. And blogging has given us new mechanisms to call journalists
to account for their failures. This is not breezy or self-
congratulatory. It's reality. And if anyone wants to see substantial
political debates, it's the bloggers at KOS who, so far, have hosted
the best example, see: Yearly KOS Presidential Forum for a substantive
understanding of how the Dem field is positioning itself.

The best part is that the Skube article mentions Josh Marshall's

Perhaps he was being ironic?

See more commentary chez TPM.

UPDATE: letter sent to LA Times:

Dear Sirs:

Re: "Blogs: All the noise that fits: The hard-line opinions on
weblogs are no substitute for the patient fact-finding of reporters,"
by Michael Skube, if you replace the word "blog" with "op-ed," and
the word "blogger" with "blowhard op-ed writers like me," Skube might
be on to something.


Hugh McGuire
Montreal, Canada.