August 23, 2007

The Journalism that Bloggers Actually Do (And Some Won't Discuss)

Is this attack on one liberal journalism professor by another liberal journalism professor in a left-coast liberal newspaper missing anything?

Off the top of my head, I'd say there is an almost purposeful lack of the important contributions to original reporting from center-right blogs.

Oh, I'm sure that there is a market for those who care about an over-priced chocolatier's deceptive marketing practices, but I'm quite convinced that Rathergate, the CBS/Sixty Minutes scandal that saw Mary Mapes and Dan Rather discredited while trying to run a pre-election hit piece on President Bush using fake documents, was far more important. Driving that scandal were "buckhead" on Free Republic, Powerline with their "The Sixty-First Minute" and Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs, who showed that forged documents were created on the only version of Microsoft Word running in 1973. Rosen, instead of giving credit to the conservative bloggers that blew this story wide open, instead links to a non-blog web site.

Rather disingenuous, if you ask me.

Charles Johnson was also a lead blogger in the "fauxtography" scandals emanating from last summer's Israeli-Hezbollah war, catching Reuters photographer Adnan Hajj photoshopping a picture of combat. Rusty Shackleford at The Jawa Report discovered another Hajj photograph where the photographer cloned elements and duplicated them. Reuters subsequently pulled more than 900 photos as a result. Literally dozens of other photos were scoured by conservative bloggers and shown to be staged and/or staged managed by Hezbollah’s media minders.

This raft of stories also doesn't make it on Rosen's radar, which seems to only scan left.

Ed Morrissey's coverage of "Adscam" revealed corruption that was credited as a key factor in sending the Liberal Party of Canada down to defeat in national elections.

There is also the current, on-going meltdown with Scott Beauchamp and The New Republic, exposed and led by center-right bloggers beginning with Michael Goldfarb of The Weekly Standard.

I've also had a busy couple of months myself, debunking a pair of wire service reported massacres that never occurred, revealing the hidden experts behind a ethically-bankrupt magazine's rigged investigation, embarrassing the world's oldest wire service into changing their photo attribution policies, and conclusively debunking a poorly-research Associated Press group report that sought to blame law enforcement ammunition shortages on current overseas conflicts.

One might think that most readers would find these right-generated stories marginally more interesting than an open-source software lawsuit details and chocolate exaggerations, but then, perhaps that is my bias.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 23, 2007 11:18 AM

Sorry, but I think you are a little unfair – I say this despite not substantively disagreeing with your observation that the examples missed some important contributions form center-right blogs.

Let me explain myself:
To slightly oversimplify, the thesis of Skube is that blogs deserve disdain because they are long on hot air and short on elbow grease. Blogs don’t do the tedious hard work of fact checking like the real media.
Rosen’s thesis is “nonsense – of course they do, let me enlighten you with examples”
Your thesis is that the Rosen list omits some important contributions. Fair (as in accurate) but unfair (as in non-responsive).
In the mathematical sense, you disprove a claim of non-existence by demonstrating a single example. There’s no requirement that the example be representative, or exhaustive. While it may be revealing that Rosen’s list didn’t contain some of the examples near and dear to both of us, he didn’t purport to deliver a representative survey. While you dismissed the chocolate example as unimportant, I saw it as a decent and delightful example helping to illustrate the breadth of the fact checking of blobs.
In short, Skube was way off base, and Rosen adequately punctured the Skube thesis.

Posted by: Phil at August 23, 2007 02:31 PM

Phil, Rosen went out of his way to go around Powerline and LGF to cite a non-blog for Rathergate. This is ignoring the biggest constributors to the story that many consider as the story that put bloggers "on the map" as an effective check on the media.

Rosen doesn't have to be exhaustive, but he leaves out not just this most powerful example, but many of the other powerful examples of blogs doing journalism as I cited in the main article, most of which were of far more general importance than those he cited in his list, some of which were frankly obscure.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at August 23, 2007 02:56 PM

I gotta go with CY on this one.

Posted by: T.Ferg at August 24, 2007 09:16 AM

Errr... he modestly said.

I would suggest that my work on The Stingy List falls into this category. After the UN accused Americans of being stingy in the aftermath of the tsunami, I documented over a billion dollars of donations by private Americans and business.

Posted by: Chuck Simmins at August 24, 2007 12:41 PM