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Bloggers: Skube didn't

Some initial responses to Michael Skube's Blogs: All the Noise That Fits from this Sunday's Opinion, starting first with the bloggers he name-checks in his piece:

Joshua Micah Marshall:

I sent Skube an email telling him that I found it hard to believe he was very familiar with TPM if he was including us as examples in a column about the dearth of original reporting in the blogosphere. [...]

Not long after I wrote I got a reply: "I didn't put your name into the piece and haven't spent any time on your site. So to that extent I'm happy to give you benefit of the doubt ..." [...]

This seemed more than a little odd since, as I said, he certainly does use me as an example -- along with Sullivan, Matt Yglesias and Kos. So I followed up noting my surprise that he didn't seem to remember what he'd written in his own opinion column on the very day it appeared and that in any case it cut against his credibility somewhat that he wrote about sites he admits he'd never read.

To which I got this response: "I said I did not refer to you in the original. Your name was inserted late by an editor who perhaps thought I needed to cite more examples ... "

And this is from someone who teaches journalism?

Matthew Yglesias:

The widespread availability of a vast sea of armchair analysis and commentary on the internet will, over time, force large, professionalized news organizations to focus on their core, hard-to-duplicate competencies -- and spend less time on the sort of fact-averse punditry Skube's doing right here.

Kagro X of The Daily Kos:

The Grand Inquisitor of Serious Journalism deigned to speak to us about the evils of the blogosphere but... had no examples in his article? Or at least, not enough to satisfy his editors?

And this is the great advantage of Serious Journalism? That it has an editing, vetting and fact checking process?

Among the reaction from those sites not mentioned:

Kevin Drum:

If you're going to extol "thorough fact-checking and verification" over the blogosphere's "potpourri of opinion," you really ought to fact-check your assertions first. Otherwise you're just making things too easy for us.

Jill, at Feministe:

Dear Michael Skube,

Take a deep breath and repeat after me: Bloggers do not want your job.

Much, much more here and here.


Comments () | Archives (7)

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For the record:

Josh Marshall's Talkingpointsmemo.com was all alone out there in covering, uncovering, and -- in multiple cases -- discovering the facts that led ultimately to the firings of the US attorneys general, and The site was nearly alone in its full-court press on the corruption cases involving members of the US congress (Cunningham and the others). He and his crew were months ahead of the LA Times, to take but one example. Skube owes Marshall a full-column apology and appreciation, once he's taken the time to read the archives at Talkingpointsmemo.com and to compare its coverage of these key stories with that of the LA Times and the other principal sources of journalism in this country.

Dick Cheney's Heart

You missed this one: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/8/20/6557/75024, taking the Times to task for its own shoddy journalism.

While this might come as a shock to veteran literary madams like Michael Skube, to some of us, some things are more important than money.

Buck Naked Politics

Mr.Skube wrote:

"The hard-line opinions on weblogs are no substitute for the patient fact-finding of reporters.... One gets the uneasy sense that the blogosphere is a potpourri of opinion and little more."

First, not all bloggers spew hard-line or unsubstantiated opinions -- any more than all MSM journalists are cut from the Bill-O'Reilly-Sean-Hannity-Rush-Limbaugh cloth. Many bloggers cite sources, provide logical analysis, and keep a civil tone.

Second, many mainstream journalists have -- at crucial times -- failed at "patient fact-finding" -- e.g., by largely failing to question the Bush Administration's pre-Iraq-war talking points. (See Bill Moyers' "Buying the War: How Did the Mainstream Press Get it So Wrong?")

Frankly, as I said at my own blog, I think forgiveness is due, given that most of us were caught in the maw of post-9/11 fear.

I also think that bloggers and MSM journalists are NOT in enemy camps. Quite the opposite: we have a symbiotic relationship, in that we regularly inform each other.

The only people who benefit from pitting bloggers and journalists against each other are those politically motivated advertisers whose feathers media-managers must keep smooth.

Mark @ News Corpse

Michael Skube puts his name on a column with additions from an editor for which he cannot vouch, and he criticizes the journalistic standards bloggers?

And how can he support this nonsense...

"No man but a blockhead," the stubbornly sensible Samuel Johnson said, "ever wrote but for money."

Thousands of writers throughout history have written for both passion and activism never receiving nor expecting a dime - including some of the founding fathers of this nation.

I feel sorry for Skube's students.

• Detox from Fox: Starve The Beast

Mark @ News Corpse

Was Thomas Paine a blockhead, Mr. Skube?

Common Sense was a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, during the American Revolution.

Paine donated the copyright for Common Sense to the states, and as one biographer noted, Paine made nothing off the estimated 150,000 to 600,000 copies that were eventually printed...In fact, he had to pay for the first printing himself.

• Detox from Fox: Starve The Beast


I feel really sorry for the poor guy. Must be terrible to feel like you have to lash out just because you're scared and defensive.

David in NY

"'No man but a blockhead,' the stubbornly sensible Samuel Johnson said, 'ever wrote but for money.'"

Emily Dickinson is a blockhead?



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