Wednesday, 28 December 2005

Criticism of Blogs & Bloggers

Here is a fascinating post at La Shawn Barber's Corner referring to a healthy dose of criticism of bloggers by Kathleen Parker. Barber comments on the power of blogs:

Dropping the self-centered defensive pose for a moment, I realize she has a point. Blogs are a powerful new medium, and I believe blogging is catching on so fast because the power and freedom of expression it provides are intoxicating. It is truly an alternative to the dominant media, and ordinary people -— non-journalists - can cajole, criticize and chastise MSM.
Quick example: the Washington Post wrote a story about embeded journalists, and according to milblogger Bill Roggio, one of the subjects of the story, they got it wrong. Big surprise, right? Well, Bill has a national platform from which to respond. Lucianne Goldberg, proprietor of the popular and nationally-recognized conservative news filter,, linked to Bill'’s response. Hundreds of thousands of people, probably more than actually read the Post story, will read Bill'’s corrections. (Read the transcript of his interview with Hugh Hewitt)

Back in the day, he'’d have been relegated to a Letters to the Editor section, maybe, or a phone call to the reporter, which may or may not have been returned. With a link from Lucianne, Bill's side of the story will get a lot of play. That'’s power.

Then, she makes this comment about anonymity:

But unrestrained power coupled with little to no accountability is a dangerous thing. As a blogger who'’s been the subject of nasty and false statements made by bloggers and in comment sections by anonymous cowards, I know what people are capable of saying when they get caught up in online anonymity. When you'’re not man or woman enough to stand behind your words using your own name, high ideals like accountability and responsibility are mere afterthoughts.

Okay. When I started this blog, I wasn't sure what I really wanted to do with it, and maintaining anonymity, though rather wimpish, seemed like a good idea. This was probably driven by a lack of confidence, working in this new realm; or just cowardice. As it has evolved, I have some thoughts on strengthening the content; fully accepting responsibility for that content seems like a better idea.

Thank you, La Shawn Barber.