Friday, November 03, 2006

Bloggers and the MSM

I just want to make a quick comment in light of an op-ed in the Journal Sentinel the other day that I was directed to through Jay's blog.

The piece is on the local blogsophere in (presumably) Milwaukee, and at one point the author -- Michael King -- writes (emphasis in original): "The sworn enemy of both sides [of the Cheddarsphere] is the MSM (mainstream media)."

I actually don't view the MSM as my sworn enemy, even though I have criticized coverage in the Journal Sentinel on more than one occasion, including my previous post.

My criticism is based on the important role I see the MSM playing in the political and civic culture of society, as I discussed yesterday.

If I didn't think the MSM was important and necessary, I would just ignore it.

That said, I hope my criticisms have not come off as confrontational and dismissive, but rather constructive and engaging.

I'll admit, though, it's tough to do that sometimes in the heat of the moment. You see an article or, worse, a pattern of articles that triggers some frustration or anger, and in the rush to get the post out (and, as most citizen bloggers will surely attest, blogging often needs to be done in a rush) you crank out a snide remark or, worse, a series of them.

This isn't to say there aren't some bloggers out there who thrive on snarky comments and actively seek them out in every post. But my sense is that a good portion of bloggers (at least the ones I bother to read regularly) don't do that.

And the fact is most bloggers -- myself included -- need the MSM. I don't have time to seek out and report the news on my own, although it's true some citizen bloggers do see themselves as reporters of the news in addition to their roles as commentators.

I see this blog, instead, as solely a place to analyze the news that gets reported by others. And since the news being reported is inherently linked to the report itself, that report often comes under the microscope along with the news.

But, again, that's because the MSM matters, not because I'm trying to fight against it.

Side-Note: If this type of discussion is interesting to you, I encourage you to attend a FREE event next Saturday that's being co-sponsored by One Wisconsin Now and Boots & Sabers called "Download 2006."

This event will feature a panel of citizen bloggers -- including myself -- from both the right and the left that will engage in a discussion about the elections and, relevant to this post, the coverage of the elections in the MSM.

Here are the details:

Date: Saturday, November 11
Time: 11:00am-2:00pm (the panel starts at noon)
Location: Waukesha County Technical College, Richard T. Anderson Education Conference Center, 800 Main Street, Pewaukee (see here for directions)

Please RSVP to cory@onewisconsinnow.org if you plan to attend.

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