Turned up to eleven: Fair and Balanced

Saturday, February 09, 2002

One thing I have noticed in the past few weeks is the tendency among many bloggers to fall into the trap of focusing on minutiae, and abandoning the idea of substantive discussion or simply relaying facts of stories to people who may not have seen them. When I first got interested in this whole thing, it was because there were a lot of smart people combing the news for interesting items in the post 9/11 media environment (a quick aside; the use of "nine-one-one" to refer to 9/11 on the radio in particular is driving me crazy! Unfortunately, no one seems willing to mention the obvious problem with this reference. I much prefer "nine-eleven", or "those crazy bastards who hijacked planes and flew them into the WTC, Pentagon, and eastern Pennsylvania!"). What seems to be happening now is either the center-right contingent of bloggers (most of 'em) are essentially putting out media criticism along the lines of "look how biased the NY Times is!!", while the freelance journalists (Welch, Layne, Kaus, Marshall, etc.) are maintaining the "find an interesting story angle and point the folk to it" approach. I guess this is natural that people gravitate toward what they do best, but it leaves me feeling that the debate becomes rather hollow, and in many ways sort of an echo chamber effect takes hold. I don't want this to turn into talk radio, although maybe it is inevitable. I suppose people like to read and hear stuff they agree with (maybe I am an exception?). Not everyone is like this, obviously, and I don't blame people for writing what they know, but my suggestion to the blog observer is, seek out opinions that you disagree with. Figuring out why you disagree is a great step toward understanding what you really think.