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The role of blogs

Blogging is not journalism. Not that there's anything wrong with finding "actual news reporting" in blogs, but arguing that blogs should have "actual news reporting" is like arguing that the science section of the newspaper should contain "actual scientific research." It conflates roles. Bloggers are commentators, essayists, pundits. They -- we -- are not reporters. Sure, if we happen to experience something firsthand, we can report it. If we feel like doing original research, we can. But that's not our primary function.

While I don't agree with much of his politics, I do agree that Josh Marshall's blog is a high quality one -- and it should be, since Josh Marshall is a professional. But most bloggers are not, and it's unrealistic to hold them to the same standard. Even if it occasionally seems otherwise, Glenn Reynolds has a full time job; Instapundit is just a hobby for him. Is he an "ideological librarian?" Perhaps. So what?

If I want reporting, I'll read the New York Times. (And then believe the opposite of what they say.) If I want commentary on Australian politics, I'll read Tim Blair. If I want someone to savage Paul Krugman, I'll read Donald Luskin. If I want a roundup of all the important Middle Eastern news, I'll read Little Green Footballs. If I want essays on applied economics, I'll read Asymmetrical Information. If I want professional punditry, I'll read the New Republic. Etc., etc. But it surely doesn't make sense to criticize one media outlet for not being the other.


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Comments (2)

It kind of got lost in Partha's excerpt of my post, but I wasn't criticizing Blogs just to criticize them. I wrote it at a time when some prominent bloggers were getting a little uppity. LGF to credit for "breaking a story" merely by linking to a real news story. And, if I recall the timing, the Agonist was caught plagiarizing another site, after having said lots of high-fallutin stuff about the journalistic-like obligations of bloggers.

Ah. Well, my comments were directed at Partha's comments, not yours, but I still should have read your original post before posting, just so that it was clear in everyone's mind who was saying what.


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