Friday, March 14, 2008

Et tu, Bob?

Bob Costas in the Miami Herald, by way of Shysterball:
I understand with newspapers struggling and hoping to hold on to, or possibly expand their audiences, I understand why they do what they do. But it's one thing if somebody just sets up a blog from their mother's basement in Albuquerque and they are who they are, and they're a pathetic get-a-life loser, but now that pathetic get-a-life loser can piggyback onto someone who actually has some level of professional accountability and they can be comment No. 17 on Dan Le Batard's column or Bernie Miklasz' column in St. Louis. That, in most cases, grants a forum to somebody who has no particular insight or responsibility. Most of it is a combination of ignorance or invective.
Dear Mr. Costas,

I am sorry that you feel that your opinion is worth more than mine because you have a career in broadcasting and I have a career in computer science. I can assure you that, contrary to what you may have heard, I do not live in my mother's basement and I that I do indeed have a life, not to mention a job.

You apparently have been informed that all blogs are places where people spout uninformed, irrational, irresponsible opinions. While many blogs are like this, not all of them are. To paint all bloggers with the same brush is itself an irresponsible opinion. Many blogs are run by people with far more knowledge of their subject than their counterparts in the media.

Do bad blogs exist? Without question. However, the opinions of bad bloggers are not more worthless than a responsible journalist's because of their medium of communication. They are worthless because of their content. That you have failed to grasp this point illustrates that you do not understand why journalists exist in the first place.

Who made the established media the guardians of public opinion? What law says that someone with a degree in journalism is more important than someone with a degree in art? What divine decree established that only the anointed purveyors of mass media were allowed to express their ideas?

Journalists have had their position because in the past the tools of communication required special training and access. Journalists were not given a position of influence because their opinions were of extra importance. Their opinions gained extra importance because of their position of influence. You have put the cart in front of the horse.

Now the barriers to communication that have always existed between people are crumbling. Economists can communicate directly with the masses they study. Programmers can communicate directly with the people who use their programs. Ball players can communicate directly with their fans.

The journalist now finds himself without control. Understandably, he is scared, afraid that this information revolution will render him obsolete. And it has. People are now getting their information from people with actual knowledge, not from people with a degree in parroting other people's opinions.

It's a new world, Mr. Costas. Suddenly, journalists can be directly challenged by people who possess more knowledge than they have. They can no longer spout lazy opinions and meaningless rhetoric with impunity. The responsible elements of the blogosphere have shown exactly how lazy and arrogant the journalistic community has become.

Those journalists with real knowledge, real substance, and real communication skills will still find themselves with a real audience. I expect that you will find yourself in this group. Those who do not will find themselves in the same situation as the bad bloggers: a right victim of the natural selection process that is constantly working for the betterment of society.


John P. Lynch


die Amerikanerin said...

Well said, John.

rklllama said...

I saw the headline and I thought you were talking about me for a second...

E. W. Lynch said...

On the subject of journalistic integrity:

The Spanish American War.

That is all.

Jack Lynch said...

Besides, you would have turned left in Albuquerque and so you would be in a basement somewhere else.