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J. Craig Williams -- attorney and recovering journalist (here) -- listened to a "cranky" NPR report on how attack-blogs are damaging the careers of public figures and now is a tetch cranky himself with the whole discussion. Writes Williams:

"Within the blogosphere, there are opinions. But they're easy to spot. I'd say a lot easier to spot than the opinions offered to us by the gray lady gang, while they oblige us to accept their reporting as factual, when in reality, they're simply disguising their filtered opinions as facts. Between MSM journalism and blogs, I'll take blogs. I can readily see the blogger's perspective, and separate the fact from the opinion. ...

Do you really think that MSM presents news to us without also interjecting their opinion? Yes, the same is true about blogs. But, there are others out there likewise considered within the definition of journalism.

After all, if you have a legal question, who would you rather hear the answer from? A newspaper reporter who asked a lawyer? Or from a lawyer who's also a highly respected law professor?"

Earlier this week, one such law professor, Eugene Volokh, took on a similar media report from The New York Times. In the article, the editor of the Columbia Journalism Review Web site, Steve Lovelady, refers to people who publish unedited comments -- presumably bloggers -- as a "lynch mob." Volokh wrote:

"... The trouble is that here the analogy is extremely weak. What's wrong with lynch mobs? It's that the mob itself has the power to kill. They could be completely wrong, and entirely unpersuasive to reasonable people or to the rest of the public. Yet by their physical power, they can impose their will without regard to the law.

"But bloggers, or critics generally, have power only to the extent that they are persuasive. Jordan's resignation didn't come because he was afraid that bloggers will fire him. They can't fire him. I assume that to the extent the bloggers' speech led him to resign, it did so by persuading the public that he wasn't trustworthy....."

What do you think? E-mail me here.

Posted by Product Team on February 16, 2005 at 07:03 PM | Permalink | TrackBack (2)


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