Wednesday, September 27, 2006

About what I owe you



Generally, I think it's a good idea to be suspicious of everyone. Odds are at some point your significant other has lied to you, anybody who is trying to sell you something obviously cares just as much about your cash as their product or service and pretty much everyone except Jesus has a motive.

In that respect, local blogger Dan recently had some interesting thoughts to share about the difference between blogging and journalism.

"Bloggers who take themselves seriously and consider themselves "citizen journalists" need a reality check. Unless you're doing the ground level development of sources and documentation, you are playing at journalism. The phone call I received yesterday was a friendly reminder that real journalists work on an entirely different level."
And I should preface all of this with the fact that Gone Mild is one of the best blogs in the city and that's why I even bother to comment on this post.

But the notion that there is a difference between the written word in one arena vs. any other is really just and excuse to stop thinking, to stop being critical. I've read tons of excellent local blog posts that have provided more valuable first hand information than could ever be provided by our daily paper. And let's not forget that there is only one major daily paper in this town that would love everyone to think they have a monopoly on facts as well as distribution, government sources and press releases.

The attitude that something has greater credibility because it was published by a corporate entity is the reason that so many people in this town are so poorly informed or don't even pay much attention to the news at all. This is the same kind of logic that kept people reading Soviet era rags like Pravda.

If blogs have one major contribution it's that they help everyone become even more distrustful of the MSM. And distrust isn't a bad thing, it's what keeps government officials in check, it's what keeps your wife from running around like a skank (much more effectively than any kind of silly vows) and it's the foundation of much of the "law" white people are so fond of . . . Seriously, security guards, police, background checks, it's basically a public display that this society doesn't trust you to behave yourself and it also makes everyone feel safer.

The notion that anything published by the Star is more credible just because they get paid for their propaganda is a dangerous one. Over the past year we've seen how they not only use their subscription base for sending spam but also seemingly put every one of their columnists on notice to write something nice in favor of the Stadium Tax. These are not the kind of people you want to trust. More and more, people have begun to seek out only the news that they agree with because it's so clear that every media outlet has an agenda - only a good blog is honest about its motives (I'm after big booty white women and good times). The media fragmentation that's going on is not all together a bad thing and while it has given birth to Fox News, this trend is also responsible for all of those great issues of High Times.

The initial post had something to do with Krazy Kris Kobach teaching another class on immigration at UMKC Law School. I received a few e-mails about it myself. A reporter wanted to confirm whether or not Kobach was, in fact, teaching the class. While a call to the law school probably would have been more productive . . . It inspired Gone Mild to praise our local rag's fact checking when, in my opinion, the fact that a cocksmooch like Kobach is held in such high esteem by UMKC Law School while the University tries its best to pander to Latinos for increased enrollment is clearly a sign that the institution is as schizophrenic as a 19 year-old broad who has just packed on the "Freshman 15."

So I can only hope that bloggers will continue to contribute to media skepticism. I hope that no one will accept anything as fact just because of a brand name. It's important to be critical of every form of media that you consume and remain skeptical of everything you read . . . Especially from The Star.

4 Comments:

frightenednortheastkcresident said...

Tony, I appreciate your honesty and the fact that you allow people to express their views, no matter how repugnant.

I was banned from KC Star website for awhile because I expressed the same dissatisfaction publicly, in a blog. I believe they sedate the readers and I have encouraged everyone I know to cancel their subscriptions to the Star.

Thanks again.

Dan said...

Good points, Tony, but I was careful to talk about good journalism, and that is what Margolies was practicing. I didn't say that bloggers are incapable of good journalism - heck, if I wanted to do it, I could have called the Law School, checked with Dean Suni, solicited quotations from Professor Kobach, and talked to a bunch of students. That would have been good journalism.

But I didn't. The journalist held himself to that standard, but I didn't. I don't feel bad about myself for that - people can cancel their subscription to my blog anytime they like, as long as they don't seek a refund.

I'm also not saying the Star always practices good journalism. It's an aspirational thing for today's media.

frightenednortheastkcresident said...

I am saying the Star practices mostly unethical journalism, with a slight agenda. The dangerous part of this is that people actually rely upon the Star for facts. I have nothing nice to say to/about the Star.

Oscar Wilde said it best:

“There is much to be said in favour of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community"

Schools out!

mrSKINNY said...

It's propaganda alright. I finally found the number to call, after searching through link after link on the KC Star website (kansascity.com ownership shows a mono-ploy at our intellects indeed). It turns out the heaps of paper i was recycling every day were being sent to me free of charge, to which I was happy to cancel. Effective immediately.