Here’s A Good Idea

Saith the bikermailman with tongue fully in cheek.  According to Edward Wasserman, a professor of Journalism Ethics, we need some ‘online rules’.  It seems Professor Wasserman liked things back in the pre-Internet days, when comments at the newspaper were controlled and limited to a few dozen a week, and when there were three broadcast networks.  He says that “In the pre-Internet world of TV and newspapers, public comment wasn’t a problem.”  It seems that the good professor has the big problem with people posting comments with anonymity. 

Or does Internet talk promise another sad case of what the late ecologist Garrett Hardin called the ”tragedy of the commons”: Each individual herdsman benefits from putting one more head of cattle onto public pasture, and suffers little from cumulative overgrazing. In time, though, community disaster ensues.  (Disaster for the dinosaur media.  The blogosphere has managed to catch them in their mistruths, misdirection, and flat-out lies, and people are going elsewhere for their news now)

“In this case, the extreme license given individuals to vent, dissemble, excoriate and indulge their hates verbally, winds up destroying the expressive freedom that other people, less bold and less opinionated, need.”

I won’t deny that there are rants and screeds out there.  Just go over to the Daily Kos or Huffington Post any time you see a conservative fall ill.  Or just plain any time.  However, how arrogantis this man?  What people like this man consider hate speech is often simple dissent to leftist views.  Or non-PC speech.  This is one of the reasons that people value the online fora so much:  The whole Politically Correct movement has become so pervasive that people are afraid to speak their minds.  The anonymity of the internet allows people to actually speak, without fear of retribution, lawsuits, or threats.  The people out there like Michelle Malkin, who actually are known, receive harassment and threats on a daily basis. 

With the move online, journalism has the opportunity to morph into a practice based not just on information gathering and narrative skill, but of stewardship, of presiding over a community-wide conversation about what’s going on and what matters.

Again, the arrogance shines through.  The media are supposed to….report the news.  Ever since Walter Cronkite flat-out lied about the Tet Offensive and altered the course of the war, ever since Woodward and Bernstein, the J-schools have changed from institutions designed to turn out reporters, a truly honorable profession that I have the greatest respect for, into factories pumping out people who want to change the world.  Don’t take my word for it, that’s the most common reason journalists give for going into the profession now. 

Reporting is the only profession guaranteed with freedom by the Constitution of the United States.  As it should be.  A free press is essential to the freedom of a nation.  It is supposed to be the watchdog that keeps our leaders in line.  However, when you have 93 percent of your profession siding with a single political party, and giving them cover every chance (ever see the stories on political scandals?  If it’s a Republican, it’s in the very first sentence, and repeated over and over.  A Democrat?  You have to dig like a prairie dog to find the reference.  They just don’t mention the party), you no longer have a an objective, third-party watchdog for the powers that be. 

This is where the blogosphere and talk radio have come in, doing the job the MSM just won’t do anymore.  We dig out the truth and disseminate it, and call BS on the media when they run interference for their guys, and run bogus half assed, half truth stories to take down people they don’t like.

There’s a term for it in the blogosphere:  Fact Checking Your Ass.  This is why they don’t like us too much.  Period. 

The NY Times, The Nation, ABC News, Dan Rather, 60 Minutes, NBC, 20/20…  their profession is filled with agenda oriented people whose vestigal ethics (perhaps the good Professor could go do some seminars for them) are blinded completely by their desire to use the hallowed  institution (I use that term seriously) for to push their own views.

This lack of ethics, and desire to tell the truth are the very reason that talk radio and the blogosphere have risen.  We’re not the troglodytes you think we are, Professor Wasserman, we know when you’re not telling us the truth.  You may shut down talk radio with a so-called Fairness Doctrine, but you’re not going to shut us up.  People are tired of being lied to, and tired of being looked down upon.



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12 Responses to “Here’s A Good Idea”

  1. Shatterhand Says:

    You’re a fan of anonymous blogging? Then you’ll appreciate this, the case of a journalist who tried to unmask an anonymous user who had tormented her mentally ill sister on Wikipedia.

    Journalist Mary Spicuzza’s sister got dinged on Wikipedia (an article on Wikipedia that Jeanne-Marie Spicuzza wrote about herself was deleted), so sister Mary took the dispute out of Wikipedia and onto the pages of her newspaper, the SF Weekly.

    Fortunately, for those of us who favor online anonymity, it created quite a controversy on Wikipedia and led to the dismissal of author Mary Spicuzza from the SF Weekly.

    You can read behind-the-scenes about what really happened starting here:'_noticeboard/IncidentArchive372#Attempted_Outing_of_Wikipedia_Editor_User:Griot_by_Tawdry_Tabloid_Journalist

  2. SF Weekly web site Says:

    An Open Letter to the Wikimedia Foundation

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I do not participate on Wikipedia, nor do I use it as a source. I am none of the persons I am being accused of and do not suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as MPD. My attorney, Richard Rosenthal, has been supplied with these facts along with a request that all false claims, slanderous remarks and defaming content concerning me be removed promptly from the site. Thank you.

    Jeanne Marie Spicuzza

    Comment by Jeanne Marie Spicuzza — February 13, 2008 @ 04:04PM

    I edited this story and I can assure you that Mary did not get fired for this story or any other. Mary decided to leave the paper to take a job with a local documentary filmmaker. She gave her notice before the Wikipedia story was published. She disclosed to me early in the reporting process her sister’s fights with Griot and her sister’s role is mentioned high up in our story. Bottom line: We stand by the story.

    Comment by Will Harper, Managing Editor, SF Weekly — February 26, 2008 @ 01:55PM

  3. Contact for blog author? Says:

    What is the best way to contact the author of this blog?

  4. DavidG Says:

    Hey, we studied the case of Mary Spicuzza and her SF Weekly article in my journalism class. It was most interesting. About half the class thought she should’ve resigned and the other half thought what she did was okay. It was interesting anyhow.

  5. Contact for blog author? Says:

    What is the best way to contact the author of this blog about false and defamatory posts?

  6. Marcella Says:

    Funny I should come across this on the Internet. We were discussing the Mary Spicuzza-Wikiedia outing in my journalism class last week. Does a print journalist have the right to persue a private family matter using the resources of her newspaper? I’m not sure the journalist in question should have been forced to resign. I think she was onto an interesting story and maybe let bad judgement get the better of her. Nevertheless, an interesting question indeed.

  7. bikermailman Says:

    There should be a contact me option on the front page. If not, let me know. I don’t see what is false or defamatory, but feel free to contact me.

  8. Contact for blog author? Says:

    I have not found a contact me button on the front page.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Sure Marc, sure. Would love to hear the specifics on that “class,” like which university, which instructor and course. And which universe next door.

  10. bikermailman Says:

    Dunno who ‘Marc’ is, but um….the instructor’s name is in the second sentence, and the link is there for a reason. To source what I’m putting in here…

  11. bikermailman Says:


  12. From Wikipedia Says:

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    • Have questions? Find out how to ask questions and get answers. •
    This user has been blocked indefinitely because CheckUser confirms that this user has used one or more accounts abusively.
    The abuse of multiple accounts is prohibited; using new accounts to evade blocks or bans results in the block or ban being extended.
    See block log • confirmed accounts • suspected socks • Checkuser request
    Categories: Wikipedia sockpuppeteers

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