Scott Tibbs
February 13th, 2006

Back to Archived blog posts.

Defending the "blogosphere"

There was a very good letter to the editor the other day defending the "blogosphere". The letter was in response to a Herald-Times editorial criticizing blogs. The H-T asks the following two questions:

  1. "What motivation is there for someone with a point of view and a Web site to offer a balanced or fair or even accurate report on a topic?"
  2. "How are readers to determine the point of view of the person offering the information?"
The letter offered an excellent answer to the questions, but allow me to take a stab at them.

First, with thousands of blogs out there, motivation varies by the individual blogger. As to a "balanced" take on a story, blogs that are set up for an individual writer or group of writers to express opinions are not much different from a newspaper's opinion page.

In many cases, blogs don't pretend to be balanced; they are up front with partisan and/or ideological bias. I've said on innumerable occasions that I do not have a problem with bias in the mainstream press so long as the press does not pretend to be impartially reporting facts. That is not the case with front-page editorializing. The open bias of many political blogs is refreshing.

Of course, for the Herald-Times to be worried about a blog being balanced or fair is laughable. I've detailed a number of examples of poor journalism by the folks at 1900 South Walnut.

What about feedback? As the letter pointed out, many blogs have comment sections. This blog has a forum attached where people can disagree with opinions I post here or point out any inaccurate statements. Even if there is no way to respond on a particular blog or in an affiliated forum, others can respond on their own blog, on an message board, or on a Web site. They can even write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper of they so choose.

The open-ended comments sections across the "blogosphere" actually offer more opportunity for debate and refutation than newspapers, which have limited space. If someone disagrees with something I post here on, he or she can post on the forum and have their comment instantly readable. If you send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper in response to an article or editorial, you will be waiting days or weeks to have it published. In some cases, a newspaper editor may decree that there will be a limit to letters published on a particular topic, unilaterally ending the debate.

The mainstream media is not going to go away, but they will have to adapt as competition from blogs increases. As the marketplace of ideas expands, newspapers and news programs on radio and television are being held accountable in a public forum for what they publish or broadcast.