A few quick observations:
1. Boston Globe ombudsman Richard Chacón writes today that he’s started a blog. You can find it here. Cruise on over, and you’ll run into his assertion that “this particular blog does not yet have the technical capability to allow people to post their comments directly.” Really? Blogger.com does, and it’s free. Then again, as much as I’m for transparency, if Chacón opens things up to all comers, there will be so many idiotic comments to wade through that it will be nearly impossible to find the worthwhile stuff. A dilemma.
2. Genocide historians Peter Balakian and George H. Stanton follow up in a Globe op-ed piece on the dispute over the Armenian catastrophe of World War I. Massachusetts education officials have eliminated materials that suggest the deaths of one million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire may not have constituted genocide. The question: Did those Massachusetts officials somehow abridge the First Amendment, as my friend Harvey Silverglate, the noted civil-liberties lawyer, contends? The answer, according to Balakian and Stanton: No. They write:
The Turkish government and its supporters are free to express their thoughts, but it does not follow that their genocide denial websites are entitled to endorsement in Massachusetts classrooms.
The First Amendment permits us to express anything, but is does not enable a foreign government’s falsification of history to be taught in our public schools.
To which I add: They’re right if they’re right. That is, if there is absolutely no legitimate scholarship showing that what happened may not have been genocide, then I agree with Balakian and Stanton. But I don’t know the answer to that contentious question.
3. Katharine Seelye has more in today’s New York Times on what’s good — and bad — about the Wikipedia, adding some details to John Siegenthaler’s harrowing tale of anonymous libel. I’m not going to give up linking to Wikipedia entries, but I’m going to look at them more closely than ever.
4. Finally, a production note: Yesterday I made the switch to Ecto (or, as the programmer would have it, ecto), a sort-of word-processing program that makes it easy to write and post blog entries without having to go to the Blogger.com Web site.
Among other things, Ecto makes it simple to have links open in windows of their own. Now, if you click on a link, Media Nation will remain open rather than disappearing into the ether.