January 08, 2006

Media To Blogs: Stop Saying What You Think!

From the Star-Tribune:

So we finally know who Minnesota Democrats Exposed is. And who cares? I don't.

In fact, he doesn't care so much, he's about to dedicate an editorial to it. Also, the word "finally" seems to indicate he's been following the story now with at least SOME interest. But, nah, he doesn't care.

Michael Brodkorb's website is described as a blog. In my opinion, nothing could be further from the truth. A blog offers analysis and opinion -- be it snarky or thoughtful; Brodkorb's is a clearinghouse for anything remotely negative about the DFL -- articles from newspapers or press releases from campaigns or the Minnesota Republican Party.

So, there you have it. A blog is only a blog if it offers analysis and opinion. So, by that definition, Rambling Rhodes is barely a blog, because I post photoshopped pictures of my ass and write expansive expose about my experiences and thoughts of going to the bathroom. Because of that, this is not a blog, so I apologize for positioning it as such for all these years.

Wait a minute, no I don't apologize. A blog is whatever the author wants it to be. If you want to blog about cats, you have a cat blog. If you want to blog about hot women, you have a hot women blog. If you want to blog about your political party in a shamelessly partisan fashion, you have a shamelessly partisan political blog. It's your right as an extension of free speech and, I would argue, free press.

That would make sense -- the state GOP is Brodkorb's former employer, and, whether he is on the payroll or not, it is obvious from a cursory look at his site that he's still carrying water for the party.

So what? If his political ideologies are still aligned with the GOP, it's his right as an American citizen to opine to the skies about what he thinks of the GOP and what he doesn't think of the the DFL. A person can certainly be ridiculed for those opinions, but he still has a right to those opinions and to blog about them as he or she sees fit.

I don't know enough about libel law to offer an educated opinion on New School Communications' libel suit against Brodkorb (a friend who does know says it's a pretty weak case). But I do know this -- Brodkorb is no John Peter Zenger. Just look at the name of his website. He's no First Amendment martyr.

If an anonymous blogger is outed due to a frivolous and weak lawsuit that isn't intended to actually win, but to simply out an anonymous blogger, you better believe there's a First Amendment threat going on. If Brodkorb didn't have the right to blog anonymously, then journalists have absolutely no right to cite anonymous sources in their articles, or to pen anonymous editorials and commentary.

He has an agenda. So do the operators of Minnesota Republican Watch, Kennedy vs. the machine, Dump Bachmann, etc. And that's their right. It's just one of the ways that the blogosphere is changing -- for better or for worse -- the political landscape. And while some of these sites are interesting and worth a bookmark, remember their purpose as you read their posts.

Yeah, because the casual visitor to ExposingMinnesotaDemocrats.com would have no idea there may be a political bias going on there. They'd be SHOCKED to learn that DumpBachmann has an anti-Bachmann leaning. Be warned, oh ye Web surfer, thar be opinions out here! Arrrrrrrrr!

It's too bad. Blogs should strive to be something more.

Really? We should? These venues for Joe Everybody should strive to be something other than our own unfettered opinion and thoughts about stuff that interests or amuses us? If so, I'm not sure I want to blog any more. Which, of course, most in the mainstream media would love to hear collectively from bloggers.

The mainstream media get rapped on the knuckles a lot, and rightly so.

Yeah, and so do bloggers, whether via e-mail, or those maddening free speech comment engines or, in the case of Minnesota Democrats Exposed, frivolous, weak lawsuits setting a horrible precedent. So, boo-hoo if the mainstream media gets rapped on the knuckles from time to time. Bloggers are hardly immune from the same. We just tend to respond to it better.

By the way, I've had more lively, thoughtful debate in my comment section over the years than anything I've ever seen in any newspaper.

This new forum for investigative journalism and political discourse should be utilized for those purposes, rather than partisan hatchet jobs.

Again, blogs can be utilized for whatever the fuck their authors want, dumbass.

Go ahead and read the rest of the piece, which is amusing in its irony. After complaining about how blogs should be used for less partisan-sniping commentary, the author cites several examples of stories that were kept alive and kicking in the mainstream media thanks to interest and drive in the blogosphere, providing the mainstream media with all sorts of news to cover over recent weeks. You'd think a "thank you" would be forthcoming, but nope.

Posted by Ryan at January 8, 2006 01:42 PM | TrackBack

There's nothing like having someone in the MSM (the Star Tribune no less) to tell us what is and what is not a blog. As Brian "Saint Paul" Ward aptly put it on the NARN show on Saturday, it's like having your Grandpa explain blogs to you. Your senile, cranky Grandpa who spends most of his time yelling at the neighbor kids to get off of his lawn. No offense intended to all the grandpas out there.

Posted by: the elder at January 9, 2006 10:39 AM

Wow. I find myself in complete agreement. I don't know what to say.

Posted by: flamingbanjo at January 9, 2006 04:04 PM
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