November 08, 2004

Them's Fightin' Words

Eric Engberg, retired CBS political correspondent, is using the election day exit poll kerfluffle to roundly damn all polibloggers, calling us something like a cross between a gossipy school newspaper and CBer's. He particularly has it in for Slate, Wonkette, Axis Sully, Kos and Drudge.

Let me give you just the final paragraph:

The public is now assaulted by news and pretend-news from many directions, thanks to the now infamous "information superhighway." But the ability to transmit words, we learned during the Citizens Band radio fad of the 70s, does not mean that any knowledge is being passed along. One of the verdicts rendered by election night 2004 is that, given their lack of expertise, standards and, yes, humility, the chances of the bloggers replacing mainstream journalism are about as good as the parasite replacing the dog it fastens on.

Read the whole thing. It's chock-a-block with this same kind of MSM condescension.

Bite me, Big Guy. I don't have time to rip this bozo a new one properly. But I will point out a couple things:

1) Bloggers are not objective news sources and have never pretended to be. They are highly informed and often highly partisan electronic pamphleteers. Look at Engburg's list, for Heaven's sake! Other than Drudge, who doesn't count, he manages to name the Legion of Doom of the Moonbat Left (with Sully in the role of "Cheeks the Really Spunky New Intern"). These folks were never in the business of trying to do anything other than sway people against Bush and were more than happy to lean on whatever flimsy reed presented itself. (The MSM, of course, are partisan themselves. The difference between them and bloggers is that the bloggers admit it freely. Anyway, ask yourself this question: Who do you trust more, Glenn Reynolds or Howell Raines? 'Nuff said.)

2) Because there is so much competition in the Blogsphere, street cred is extremely important. All the sites that bit on the exit polling will retain their core readers - who, again, go more for opinion than straight news - but may very well lose a good bit of credibility because of this business.

3) People generally read one or two news publications and watch maybe one or two MSM television news broadcasts, so they are locked into a very small pool of fact and analysis. But the Blogsphere is different. It acts like a swarm. I personally read something over 20 different political sites for this kind of information. There are always going to be outriders in every direction on a given topic, but it's amazing how much insight you can pick up from reading 15 or 16 different individual's informed, intelligent take on a given topic.

4) The exit poll fiasco was one story. Would Engburg really like to line 'em up and do a side-by-side of Blogsphere/MSM track records over the past 18 months or so? Jayson Blair, anybody? Sandy Berger? Dan Rather/MemoGate? Bueller? Bueller? And how about that story that someone was trying to plant last week about J. Francois having been dishonorably discharged from the military? Most bloggers didn't go anywhere near it.

5) Hey, Eric! How 'bout some props where they're due? Steve-O was trashing the exit poll meme in realtime, as were some others. He was also all over the manipulation of the electronic futures markets over at Tradesports. And both of us accurately predicted the actual results of the election - including a perfect 50-state strike in the Electoral College vote. See Point 2 above.

Yes, the Blogsphere is a wild and woolly free-for-all of opinion and advocacy. But it is also the home of some very serious, very good investigation and analysis and a much needed relief from the Oz-like pronouncements of the MSM. Engburg's "run along and stick to your video games and music piracy, little boys and girls" attitude really incenses me, and illustrates nicely a kind of fearful arrogance which the MSM would be very wise to drop if it ever hopes to really understand that the curtain is being pulled aside. When Toto pees on your foot, Eric, don't say we didn't warn you.

UPDATE: Speaking of Glenn, here's his post on the exit poll kerfluffle. Another good point.

UPDATE DEUX: Paul at Wizbang is pissed, too.

Posted by Robert at November 8, 2004 03:52 PM | TrackBack

Giggle- "bite me" -gawd that one makes me laugh everytime!

Posted by: Rae at November 8, 2004 09:30 PM

I am greatly amused by the standard rant that Bush appealed to the Bubbas in flyover country by using "code words" such as "pro-life" and "family values" and conservatives are, in their words, ignorant. If we are so ignorant, how do we know what the code words mean? Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: LMC at November 8, 2004 10:11 PM
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