As always I wait until the last fricking moment to write a post. I come up with great ideas when I’m driving to and from work, but then something throws me off course at my destination and I’ve lost the idea. So while I was delivering something for the boss today, I had this brainstorm to write about today’s topic. Last week I blogged about the Why’s of blogging. When I wrote that post, I remember thinking about someone blogging on the topic of “When Authors Behave Badly,” and I immediately thought, well what about Bloggers being something they aren’t?
Blogging is wonderful expression of freedom. Freedom of speech is critical to the underlying foundations of the U.S., however with freedom comes responsibility, and personally, I see a lot of these blogs acting irresponsibly and without honor (ok so the honor part is my Klingon alter-ego surfacing).
What I find particularly annoying is blogs who pass themselves off as industry insiders or reporters, and I’m not just talking romance. This is across the spectrum, and I find it irritating. Primarily because the bloggers on these quasi-news blogs aren’t trained in news reporting. How do I know this? Because I majored in journalism before I switched to my marketing/PR (I’ve lived a long time and I’m a jack-of-all-trades). Most of the time, these bloggers get it wrong. Not necessarily the facts, but I seldom see information presented correctly. That is, the blogger doesn’t just report, they add commentary, and they call it news.
It’s Op-Ed NOT News
Example—yesterday Mac mentioned Fox News as her source on a book. As I commented on her post, Fox News is notorious for inflammatory commentary presented as news (I refuse to watch their news because it’s so bad, CBS is another one). Commentary and fact presentation are two different things. Commentary is Op-Ed, the writer presents an argument for or against something, and you know it’s strictly opinion. I heartily endorse opinion, it’s what we thrive on here at the Gab Wagon. What I really despise is when people pass themselves off as journalists and watchdogs for the industry of their choice, but their posts are strictly Op-Ed.
The original design of Blogger.com was for commentary. Its purpose was to enable individuals to put their thoughts and opinions out there for the whole world to read. And that’s exactly what it was—opinion. Unfortunately, we’re evolving into a different blog reality. People are starting to assume that some blogs are actually reporting news. News that’s allegedly accurate, but it’s not always. It’s like urban legends that we used to hear about in school that swept across the country over a period of months. Now it’s in a matter of hours. People get riled up about something that’s either inaccurately reported or the facts reported are presented with a nasty bias (right or left).
Just the Facts Ma’am
A true journalist knows to present the facts of an issue without opinion. The mark of a true journalist is someone who writes an article without bias of any sort (not easy to do). Now granted this can make for bland posts, and one’s stat numbers might falter (Oy Vey!). BUT at least it’s honest and forthright. Just once, I’d really like to see some of these quasi-industry blogs act responsibly and present the facts and nothing but the facts. THEN they could follow-up the news post with an OP-Ed piece. Imagine it! A Point — Counter-Point type of blogging. Personally, I think it would be refreshing to have someone report on industry news and let me make up my own damn mind about a topic.
WHOA! Now there’s a concept. Allowing me to think for myself and letting me make up my own mind about something.