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8:58 AM CT - I'm setting up for the Brookings Briefing and getting my live-blog post set up. I'm cheating a bit -- I'm using my desktop to watch the event and my laptop to blog it. So far, the stream works perfectly. I believe I see Ana Marie Cox sitting off to the left as they get set up.
I'll be checking my comments as we go along, so don't be shy about chiming in.
9:06 - I'm listening to someone talking by the microphone, and a woman says that with Andrew retiring and Ana taking a break, blogging is over. Well, that was a short conference!
9:07 - OK, we're under way. BTW, I really like EJ's tie.
9:11 - EJ refers to there being no true liberal bloggers on the panel. I'd also add that there are no true conservative bloggers on the panel, either. What we have are the "establishment" bloggers, the ones who usually get featured on programs like this. The difference is the live-bloggers invited, which does have a good representative spectrum.
9:14 - I'm not seeing any live-blogging in the lower frame of the webcast -- will that happen?
9:15 - Bloggers getting something wrong, for Ana. Her answer relates to our position as opiners, not fact-seekers. However, she misses the point that the Exempt Media often gets facts wrong. When we run a correction, however, we run it on our "front page".
9:19 - The difference between CBS and Sinclair was that CBS presented fake documents as fact, while Sinclair was open about the editorial nature of the documentary they were going to run.
9:20 - EJ, you're welcome. Looks like the live blog works.
9:22 - Bloggers as parasites and the Internet as a drag on revenue: Jodie Allen postulates that the Internet publication will further erode resources for wide coverage, especially for print journalists. The journalism of assertion vs. verification -- that's what we, as consumers, have seen for years. If the journalists had hewn to the facts all along, the blogosphere would still be a hobby-driven enterprise.
9:29 - The effectiveness of conservatives in connecting to talk radio: Ellen notes that liberals have more representation in the blogosphere. However, I think EJ may be correct, not so much because of the blogosphere, but because liberal talk radio hasn't really developed much of an audience. Why? Because the MSM's editorial policies allow for so much of a microphone that liberal talk radio becomes redundant.
9:33 - Andrew: Blogs allow you to write what you want. However, as Andrew discovered, blogs represent a market, and when you write what they don't like, people quit contributing to your tip jar. That's the free market ... so what's the problem? It's one of the reasons I don't do blegs. If you want to maintain your independence, doing fund-raising drives tends to undermine that.
9:38 - I do have some friends in mainstream media, but I met them through my blog. If they passed off something that I felt was untrue or misleading, I'd still write about it, and I think they know it. I met Chris Suellentrop a couple of times at the RNC, and he seemed like a great guy -- I'm sure he is -- but I had no problem heavily criticizing his coverage.
9:41 - Ana says that Eason Jordan got nailed because we didn't know him personally. I'd reverse that; he didn't get criticized despite making his repeated and unsubstantiated allegations because he was one of the gang.
9:42 - No, we weren't paid to be at the RNC!!!
9:43 - I paid my own way to NYC, my readers donated to my travel fund, one of them picked up a significant portion of my hotel bill, but I never received a thin dime from the GOP or any candidate. I'd like that to be made clear.
9:46 - Jodie makes the argument that bloggers need to be policed to make sure they're not getting paid by candidates. Of course, Pew has thrown a huge effort at reducing free political speech, as Ryan Sager has documented.
9:53 - Network went down briefly -- sorry!
9:54 - The NYT publishes 4,000 corrections per year, but the nature of those corrections tend to be all over the place. Newspaper corrections (not just the NYT) get run in a small section, whereas the stories that ran with factual errors got a much higher profile. On blogs, when we correct something, we post to the original article and/or put the correction on our front page.
9:58 - Blogs as slander machines: this meme has been beaten to death. The blogosphere has been around for more than a couple of years, and what people fail to understand that it's a credibility market. If you pass along nasty gossip, people quit reading you eventually.
10:02 - Comments sections: I like my comments section, but it's a personal choice. I have to do a little management of it from time to time, but if I write seriously, I tend to get serious debate. I'm not a "control freak" as Ana says she is, and I rarely even defend myself in my own comments section. I want my readers to have their forum.
10:10 - Talk radio does tend to polarize, but so does "Crossfire" and other television shows like that. Bloggers, I think, actually cool the climate through more clear rhetoric and essaying rather than rapid-fire exchanges.
10:12 - How does Ellen stand working at Talk Right? Well, how does David Brooks like working at the New York Times?
10:14 - Not everything I write is journalism; most of it is punditry. Some of what I have written is journalism. But why do we talk about the "freedom" of journalists? Why aren't bloggers just as free to write what they want as those who work for the Washington Post?
10:18 - Andrew nails the journalism meme to the wall. Well said. Of course, I'm 42, so I'm out of luck.
10:22 - Oh, Lord, a WMD nut. The truth is that every Western intelligence agency believed that Saddam had WMD, the Clinton administration believed it to be true, and Congress acted in 1998 and 2002 on the same intelligence. Sit down.
10:23 - Jack Shafer gave a good answer, but what did this question have to do with blogs and their impact on the media? In the blogosphere, we'd call this guy a troll -- someone who hijacks a thread on someone else's blog in order to start his own argument.
10:25 - Andrew makes a good point about the decentralization of the blogosphere and its power to collect vast amounts of data to a few central points.
10:27 - Andrew scores again. Look, we're the media's best customers! We get people interested in the articles we critique. We read the papers voraciously and devour many different sources on a daily basis. What's more, we point people for better or worse to these sources. Why see us as enemies? Just because we hold the Exempt Media accountable?
10:31 - Pew's funding for campaign finance comes up!
10:32 - The problem with Sean Treglia and Eason Jordan wasn't that they made off-the-cuff remarks -- it's that they revealed the truth about themselves and their motives. Jordan had a vast media empire at his fingertips, and yet only published his unsubstantiated allegations of American servicemen murdering journalists in foreign media forums (more than once!). Treglia revealed that Pew basically fooled Congress into thinking that a huge demand for curtailing political speech existed and they spent a lot of money carrying off that effort.
10:37 - EJ, spending a hundred million dollars to take the money out of politics threatens the wall between reality and satire. That's the difference. Outside of that, I actually agree with you -- which is why I believe the only solution is complete and immediate disclosure and removal of all the artificial limits on contributions and speech.
10:43 - I suppose I'm a "zealot" blog now, but the reason why I oppose pulling out anyone's feeding tube when they're not dying is because I oppose euthanasia. Terri Schiavo isn't dying and isn't brain dead. She's not on life support, and she didn't start dying until Friday afternoon. Protecting life is a central tenet of conservativism. The Catholic position is that one cannot stop food and water to someone who isn't in the last hours of life.
10:46 - Diversity in the blogosphere still seems to be a silly question. The blogosphere has no thresholds for entry. Anyone can blog, and anyone can blog about whatever they want. You can start a blog for free. What's the issue?
10:49 - One audience member talks about blogs as being a more active experience, as compared to talk radio and especially talking-head television. Can blogs educate? Sure -- as long as you check our references and links. Don't take my word as gospel, just like you shouldn't take Dan Rather or even Jack Shafer at his (although I know which of the two I'd prefer).
11:01 - Blogging has peaked? I doubt it. I agree with Jack -- I think we're going to eventually see a co-optation of blogs, but starting their own blogs probably won't do it. They need to affiliate with existing bloggers in order to truly co-opt them. Media-owned blogs won't have the necessary credibility to gather much power. Of course, affiliations may also reduce our own credibility.
Thanks to Brookings and the panel for an enjoyable morning!
11:13 - Final thoughts ...
I think the panel allowed the subject to drift too much away from its intended purpose, and in this instance Ana is correct in hoping that we have no further symposiums on the essence of blogging. At times the central question of the blogosphere's effects on the mainstream media were directly addressed, but mostly it seemed a secondary issue to explaining blogs for the umpteenth time. Still, I know I enjoyed the debate and my participation in it. I hope those of you along for the ride did as well.Sphere It View blog reactions
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