Sunday, November 16, 2008

Blogging and the Mainstream Media

Clameur de Haro? wonders whether Mr Alan Le Breton, sometime columnist of the Jersey Evening [sic] Post, rather disapproves of bloggers. In his column of 12 November, he says -
Now we have Blogosphere, a cyber-atmosphere of chat and information. The blog gives just as much broadcast expression to the astute as to the idiot, where opinions rather than judgments rule. There are apparently 112 million blogs out there, judicious or shrill: the choice is yours.
This Blogosphere is capable of being tapped into as much by enthusiastic babblers as governments, pressure groups and international companies. They have exploited the opportunity to flog their ideas or products by posting pseudo praise blogs; they have even got people known as ‘shadow bloggers’ to write the testimonials – the ghost writers of cyber-space.
This blogger’s paradise allows cowards to hide behind the keyboard, to exchange lurid accounts of anti-social exploits or behaviour, dismiss employees, break off relationships, abuse anyone from neighbours to media celebrities and, more worryingly, to lure the young and vulnerable into chat rooms and worse.
Leaving aside the columnist’s penchant for the melodramatic turn of phrase - “the ghost writers of cyber-space” (oh dear, oh dear….) CdeH? thinks that Mr Le Breton may in fact be more than a little miffed that an alternative avenue has opened up for the exercise of free speech, the dissemination of ideas, and the airing of argument and debate, and one which moreover doesn’t rely on the goodwill or sub-editing vagaries of the MSM for its publication. One where readers can in fact have access to varying opinions, presented to them not just via the MSM columnist’s worldview and the sub-editor’s pen, and where the MSM no longer has a monopoly on distribution.
Perhaps if Mr Le Breton’s employers didn’t inhibit the development of complex arguments by restricting letters to 400 words or so, and published both more, and more promptly (for example, Mr Robert Kisch’s measured response to Helier Clement’s 3 November cheap-shot, populist, throwaway line about “obscene” oil company profits wasn’t published until 14 November), the Jersey Evening [sic] Post might be more of a debating forum.
How potentially worrying for Mr Le Breton and his fellow hacks, though, that the blogosphere should give broadcast expression to opinions rather than judgments, and allow such heinous crimes as even the abuse of media celebrities? The abuse of media celebrities? Whoever can he have in mind? Whatever next?
This anxiety of course isn’t that far away from Hazel Blears’ recent agonizing about the growth of political blogging in the UK, to the extent of her fears that the point has been reached -
”…..where commentators are viewed by some as every bit as important as elected politicians, with views as valid as Cabinet Ministers'…..”
and that -
“…….political blogs are written by people with a disdain for the political system and politicians, who see their function as unearthing scandals, conspiracies and perceived hypocrisy”.
Er…….Hazel and Alan - why should the views of CdeH? and fellow-bloggers, disparate though they may be, not be every bit as valid as the views of the governmentariat? Or the established commentariat, for that matter? Because CdeH?, and I hope fellow-bloggers, of whatever political stripe, are going to go on pinpointing hypocrisy, inefficiency, profligacy, and wrong-doing wherever they - rightly or wrongly - perceive it. Inconvenient it may be (one does hope so), but undemocratic it ain’t.
Finally, isn’t it just a tiny bit rich for Mr Le Breton to rail that the “..blogger’s paradise allows cowards to hide behind the keyboard…” ? Presumably he overlooks the fact that lurking incognito behind a keyboard adjacent to his, and offering provocative opinions on many issues of current controversy, is one Helier Clement, not to mention fellow nom-de-plume Meridian?
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crapaudmatic said...
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