|Turned up to eleven: Fair and Balanced|
Thursday, June 27, 2002
I don't usually go for the meta-stuff, because it usually gets so convoluted so fast as to lose all relevance, but I was struck by a couple of issues floating around blogdom (the "right" and "left" hemispheres, you might say). First, the notion of an "echo chamber". I don't doubt that such a thing, in a sense, exists. One thing every blog reader should keep in mind is that these are personal opinions. Regardless of how many write-ups Instantman gets in the NY Times, he is still just a guy with a computer, writing what he thinks. If he is too far to the right (or left) for you, you can feel free to disregard his opinion. If you feel that he is misleading or factually wrong, start your own blog! Conversely, some have criticized this proliferation of "watch" sites as "parasitism" (among the accusers, Jane Galt and Instantman himself). I find this deeply and hilariously ironic. What, if anything, are these sites for? We sit at our computers writing about (at least in some cases) the various inaccuracies and "biases" in traditional media, patting ourselves on the back for being at the vanguard of (wait for it...) a revolution in media! To get upset that someone would do the same thing to you, or your buddy, is pretty silly. Incidentally, there is a substantial analogy here to the Usenet/discussion group tendency to devolve into "flame wars", in which a few members of the group would get the whole thing sidetracked on a ridiculous tangent. There is a lesson here; the tech may change, but people stay the same.
The "echo chamber" that I mentioned above intrigues me. There is a potent lure here, for someone who doesn't like to be contradicted, to simply link to people he or she agrees with, and only read the same. My question, to my readers, is this; What sites do you read (besides this one)? Do you like to read things that differ from your own opinion? If anyone would like to, I suggest listing off the top 10 or 20 sites you visit regularly. I hope some people respond to this in the comments...
Personally, I enjoy reading opinions that differ from my own, and responding to them, either here or in comments. This may stem from the fact that I am a deeply argumentative person, who enjoys a good, honest discussion of issues. I suppose it comes down to what you want from your reading/writing. If you are looking for confirmation, then the echo chamber is for you. If you like to argue, then reading different viewpoints is key. To get the ball rolling, here are some sites I visit essentially every day... (if it is not in the links to the left, I will link it in the list).
Instapundit, Media Whores Online, Transterrestrial Musings, Ted Barlow, The Sideshow, No Watermelons, "Godless Capitalist" (now a part of Gene Expression, Eschaton, Jane Galt, Quark Soup, A Voyage to Arcturus, Electrolite, Volokh Conspiracy, and probably a few others I can't think of. Admittedly, this list skews center-left, but I think I get some pretty good right/libertarian stuff from a few of 'em (if you don't know which ones, you aren't reading enough bloggage!!) I look forward to hearing other lists...