By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

First thoughts on “Greater Boston”

I’ve received e-mails from several people today asking when I’m going to comment on John Carroll’s piece about paid political bloggers that appeared this past Friday on “Greater Boston with Emily Rooney.” I wasn’t on last Friday, and I’m just catching up. Here is the clip in question:

The “Beat the Press” panelists — including me — will talk about it this coming Friday, so I’m not going to say much until then. Of course, my conflict of interest is obvious. Carroll is a colleague. He’s an honest and ethical journalist, and he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Carroll did make a mistake in believing this satirical post on claiming that several well-known bloggers were actually aliases used by yet another well-known blogger, Jerome Armstrong. But the first rule of satire is that lots of people won’t get it. Media Nation is known to be a land of high density, and if I had been in Carroll’s shoes, I can easily picture myself making the same mistake.

David Kravitz of Blue Mass Group, who was interviewed for Carroll’s piece, is unhappy, as he tells us here and here.

The bloggers seem to be notably unflustered about Carroll’s larger point, which is that some of them (not BMG) are on the take from political campaigns, and some of them don’t bother to disclose that.

Instant update: This post on the Weekly Dig blog is pretty amusing. But, Joe, watch out. The satirical post was by someone named Jonathan Singer, not Armstrong. Get ready for several dozen comments accusing you of being a clueless running dog for the MSM.

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  1. Anonymous

    It’s not surprising. BlueMassGroup has become close to unreadable. It’s more like a really dorky high-school clique than a blog.The outrage over Beat the Press would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic. I’m not sure which is more irritating: David’s constant bragging about how vital and important the blog is, David’s tendency to delete posts from people who don’t recognize his brilliance, or David pretending Peter Porcupine’s endless supply of drivel represents balance.

  2. Anonymous

    It was with a heavy heart that I watched my homies from BTP getting mercilessly destroyed on Kos, Crooks & Liars, and elsewhere. I felt like someone was making fun of my sister or something: “hey, I can make fun of my sister, but not you!.” Looks pretty cut and dry: John screwed this one up royally. He’ll learn from it, and live to see another day. I didn’t see the show mentioned, but I will say this: besides Dan, there has always seemed to be sort of a sneering attitude about blogs among panelists on the show–you know, the “pajamas in their mother’s basement” meme everybody uses. Emily Rooney can barely disguise her contempt for them (she strikes me as the type who would have trouble working a TV remote–from 20 years ago), and the rest just chortle away whenever someone gets in a dig at a blogger as Not One of Them. It’s just a general attitude. Besides Dan, of course. I love the show, don’t get me wrong. And I usually enjoy what John Carroll has to say about things, of course. But I can just predict the discussion on Friday–there’ll be an admission they were wrong, but they’ll cling to a general point that some bloggers don’t disclose their relationship with parties, pat themselves on the back about being right about that, and then get some more digs in at “bloggers” with the old standbyes. They will surely chortle at the over-the-top “blogswarm” that made too much of BTP’s small error, and they’ll have great fun. I do love the show, though–seriously.

  3. Anonymous

    Quote:Carroll did make a mistake in believing this satirical post on claiming that several well-known bloggers were actually aliases used by yet another well-known blogger, Jerome Armstrong. But the first rule of satire is that lots of people won’t get it.Unquote.No, Dan, that was not Caroll’s mistake. His mistake was NOT TO VERIFY THE EASILY VERIFIABLE FACT that those “aliases could not possibly belong to Mr Armstrong.Let’s get this straight: THE FIRST RULE OF JOURNALISM — not satire — IS TO CHECK YOUR FACTS.Your “conflict of interest” is not obvious. Just what do you owe to appearing on Greater Boston which outweighs your obligations as a journalist?

  4. Anonymous

    Nobody comes off well here. Slighted bloggers overreact, too quick to form a lynch mob. You moved our comments! Ethics! Standards! Please, unwind your uptight selves. Take a walk outside. Look at the night sky, and consider your significance. Keep this in perspective. Maybe just maybe, John deserves to live. His pieces are pithy and quick–too quick in this case. They always seemed half a joke anyway, more to make a funny score than real reporting. In this case careless indeed though, and he got well whacked. Exposes that nobody does enough prep for the show. Maybe cause they figure only 20 (or was it 19?) people are watching. But John’s an upright guy I think and will admit his mistake. He’ll apologize then we can move on. Everybody screws up. He has plenty of other useful and amusing thoughts, worth listening to.The blogging version of accountability is the transparency, and the feedback provided by ahem, comments. (Recall my ancient complaint–anyone? anyone?, that a blog without comments is not a blog.)Obviously none of the BTP regulars besides Dan spends hours and hours staring at computers all week like noble bloggers do, so are out of touch hypocrites!I’m an old fan of the show but lately they come across as the same bunch of old farts week after week. I used to not miss a week but now it’s more of a yawn. Sciacca is no Mark J, who was a big loss. The show has gotten lazy and tired. This may be a good time to shake up the format. Bring some new blood in–keep (fallible) John and Dan. Callie doesn’t have much to say I’m afraid. Get some regular bloggers in addition to Dan, or any other alternative media people in there. Think of other ways to loosen the format up. Move the chairs around. Something. And don’t you dare move this comment! Or it’ll show just what of standards you have!

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 8:06: Here’s the problem. You don’t verify every single fact. You verify the facts only when they seem to be unverified.When you screw up, it’s always obvious in hindsight that you should have, yes, verified the facts. But John Carroll not only read that Jerome Armstrong uses several aliases, he read it on Armstrong’s own blog. He didn’t get that it was a joke. So at this point he’s thinking, What’s to verify?“Greater Boston” has issued a correction. I’ve been there. And I’m not sure what else there is to say.

  6. Mr Lynne

    People’s integrity was impinged on a story that would have been averted were it not for an amature mistake. I agree with the above in that “John screwed this one up royally.” While I admire Dan’s respect for his colleague, I’m not so sure he deserves the benefit of the doubt because I feel the amateur nature of the mistake coupled with the fact that this went to attacking specific people’s character makes this particularly egregious. I could understand a mistake like this on a story that didn’t have so much potential fallout, but when people’s integrity are at issue one damn well better make sure of facts if one asserts the mantle of professional journalist, never mind a teacher of potential journalists.I hope to see more acknowledgment on Friday that the Greater Boston panel gets that what was wrong here was not just the factual error but the damage caused by John’s mistake. I think the fallout might not be that bad given that Jerome’s regular readers already know what the read deal here was. But I can’t help and wonder how many potential new blog readers will now avoid the medium altogether. Bloggers live and die by their reputation and that is why this kind of attack, when unwarranted, is so potentially damaging.I must say that I was disappointed in Emily Rooney’s correction on Monday in that she acknowledges the factual error, but made no apology for the maligning that it lead to. It is as if the big dig managers apologized for the ceiling engineering error but made now mention of the poor woman that died. Not that this is as serious, but the situation is analogous.Not mentioning the character assassination that resulted from the error is indicative that they don’t know what was wrong about what was done. It was more than mere technical wrongdoing.

  7. Mr Lynne

    When he read it on Armstrong’s own blog, I fail to comprehend how John didn’t slip on the dripping sarcasm.

  8. David

    My favorite readers are the ones who claim that BMG is “unreadable,” yet clearly read everything that gets posted there, like Mr./Ms. “Anonymous.” And as far as my deleting posts: I defy you or anyone else to produce a single instance of my deleting a post because the author didn’t agree with me. You can’t, because it has never happened. If that were my practice, I would have deleted just about every post on the gay marriage debate, since 90% of BMG’s readers disagreed with my position. So criticize if you like, but don’t make shit up.Also, Dan, (1) “notably unflustered” about undisclosed blogging for dollars? See, the thing is, I spoke against astroturfing in the interview — but those parts of the interview weren’t used. (2) I’m surprised that you’re so willing to excuse Carroll for screwing up the Jerome Armstrong thing. Calling someone a fraud is serious business. Even if you think on first glance that it’s the defrauder himself making a confession, wouldn’t standard journalistic practice (I’m just a blogger here, so I’m admittedly on thin ice when it comes to “journalism”) be at least to make sure that the “confession” was real and not part of some elaborate satirical hoax? I mean, people don’t go around publicly confessing to fraud every day.

  9. Anonymous

    The whole thing is silly and sanctimonious. Today on BMG, David Kravitz stated:I don’t think Romney has ever backed civil unions, if by that you mean full marriage rights under a different name. He has in the past backed recognizing certain limited rights for gay couples, the contours of which I’m not certain.Now, two seconds of googling would have showed that Romney did, in fact, back civil unions at one point. Not only that, David would have found exactly what Romney had to say about “certain limited rights.”He just plain didn’t do his research. Shocking? Hardly. A conflict of interest, especially given David’s obsession with voting on gay marriage? You’ve got to be joking.The blogosphere takes itself way, way too seriously.

  10. Mr Lynne

    Dan,In your comment about John’s percieved lack of the need for verification. The question in my mind is this: Given the fact that at a minimum the post he read could be read as sarcasm and that the story he was about to do would allege corruption, potentially harming the subject, should John have known better than to merely give it the cursory glance. (I find it hard to swallow that a more than cursory glance would not have at least put doubts in John’s mind about a literal reading of the post)When you are about to knowingly do potential harm I would hope that there would be a default rule of going over it again just to make sure.

  11. Bombadil

    Dan, that’s unmitigated crap. A journalism professor, of all people, puts together a piece for publication/airing making serious accusations of ethical lapses on the part of the bloggers and he doesn’t check to be sure he’s got his facts straight? He not only doesn’t recognize the satire in the piece, but he gets the poster’s name wrong? How on earth is he supposed to have any credibility as either a journalist or a teacher of journalists?Carroll should step down from his position on Greater Boston at the very least. And the folks at Boston University should probably take a look at what lessons their journalism students will take away from this as well.

  12. Dan Kennedy

    John made a mistake. “Greater Boston” has issued a correction. Unfortunately, I do think it’s a characteristic of some bloggers — and, David, you’re heading in that direction — to be entirely unable to let go and take “yes” for an answer.

  13. Mr Lynne

    I for one, would have been put at much greater ease had Greater Boston acknoledged the “we wrongly accused someone of fraud” mistake as well as the “someone took satire to be literal” mistake. I’m disturbed that it didn’t happen. I hope it happens on Friday.

  14. Anonymous

    “It is as if the big dig managers apologized for the ceiling engineering error but made now mention of the woman that died.”Is it?Is it REALLY?Three words: Get. A. Grip.

  15. Anonymous

    Dan,What do you think of the fact that in the correction they ran at their blog, they had incorrect information originally.And then they edited it to remove the incorrect information, but DIDN’T DISCLOSE THAT THEY MADE FACTUAL ERRORS IN THEIR ORIGINAL CORRECTION?They also edited it a second time, without telling people that.It seems unethical to change the record without making note of it.What do you think, Dan? Please address this important issue.

  16. Anonymous

    Dan, you seem to be making the same mistake John Carroll did in acting as if the New York Times Op-Ed was completely accurate fact, and running with it from there. Op-Eds are not free from misrepresentation or inaccuracies, and Jerome Armstrong, at the top of the Times Chart (and quoted in the article) has pointed out in an update to the satirical blog entry you cite significant inaccuracies in the table that accompanied the Op-Ed. Armstrong took a hiatus from blogging while working for Brown and Warner, except to promote his book (co-authored with Moulitsas), Crashing the Gates.There is no attempt to distinguish which of these bloggers, if any, have actually done something unethical, in failing to reveal their campaign connections. It does happen: John Thune employed two undercover bloggers to aid him in his successful bid to unseat Tom Daschle in 2004. But are any of these bloggers guilty of taking money and then doing some astroturfing for particular candidates? If they are, I’d like to know about. Patrick Hynes, the only one cited for criticism, was working the Republican side of the fence. All the others in the chart, with one minor exception, are Democratic bloggers; given that K. Daniel Glover works for the National Review, I doubt that imbalance is accidental.What I have seen on blogs is a high level of disclosure. I read a number of blog posts by Tim Tagaris during the recent campaign, both on the official Ned Lamont campaign blog (his job), and also in posts at other blogs (also his job, and all his posts had the proper disclaimer noting his connection to the Lamont campaign). The quote in the chart from Peter Daou is significant in that he wrote it in the post where he announced that he was accepting a position with Senator Clinton. Another blogger, Jesse Taylor, stopped writing for and transferred the ownership of his blog, Pandagon, when he was hired by Ted Strickland to run the Strickland for Governor blog.I strongly suggest that before “Beat the Press” discusses bloggers again this Friday, the program does some original research of its own to find out just what it is bloggers are doing. I suspect they will find that bloggers, on the whole, are admirable, above-board, ethical people. And when they do, I trust they will make this their primary point, not the few exceptions. Or you could even “beat” the questionable Times Op-Ed, highlighted so prominently last Friday. If BtP hadn’t placed its trust in the Times, you folks wouldn’t be facing an unpleasant several minutes this week.

  17. Anonymous

    David,The tendency of posts and entire threads to “disappear” from BMG is well documented. Everybody I know who’s posted there has seen it. None of the posts I’ve seen contained anything particularly inflammatory, especially compared with the blatantly homophobic posts you tolerate in the name of “balance.” The bit about “don’t recognize his brilliance” was sarcasm. Frankly, I’ve no idea why you do it. I do know it diminishes your credibility, just as it diminishes HubPolitics’ credibility when they filter replies. It’s too bad, since I used to have a fair amount of respect for you and your blog. anon6:26I do agree that, yes, your ranting about gay marriage was, and remains, incredibly offensive and misguided. Thank you for acknowledging it.

  18. Anonymous

    Dan,You point out one factual error Joe makes. But I wonder what you think about this:Joe notes “irony” in somebody in the comments demanding a correction in a post that is, in fact, a correction. However, other commenters note that comments were taken out of a previous post and MOVED into the correction post when it was created.Isn’t it ironic how many factual errors people who talk about blogger credibility make?I appreciate you brought up the previous criticism of Joe. I hope you bring up this second one, so that he can correct the record once again.

  19. Anonymous

    No, Dan, that was not Caroll’s mistake. His mistake was NOT TO VERIFY THE EASILY VERIFIABLE FACT that those “aliases could not possibly belong to Mr Armstrong.Unless John Carroll had access to the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses used by Armstrong and the presumed aliases, that fact would not be so easy to verify. And even if the IP addresses were, in fact, different, even THAT would not be determinative of the presumption that they were different individuals.On the general topic, I’d cut Carroll some slack. If the chart that was displayed on the BTP segment was the one from the NYTimes purporting to show bloggers who were paid by campaigns–and I presume that it was–that chart itself was faulty. I know of at least one item in the ten items on the chart that was dead wrong–the one involving Jesse Taylor and Pandagon. The NYTimes claimed that Taylor was paid by the Ted Strickland campaign for governor of Ohio. The truth is that Taylor had severed his relationship with Pandagon when he was hired by the Strickland campaign, which apparently was not mentioned in the NYTimes article. I, for one, don’t believe much of anything published in the NYTimes, just because they publish it.From Dan: But John Carroll not only read that Jerome Armstrong uses several aliases, he read it on Armstrong’s own blog. He didn’t get that it was a joke.Obviously he didn’t. Unless he was a frequent reader of Armstrong’s blog, it is unlikely that he would have understood it as being satire. (Frankly, I have read MyDD quite often, and I never saw the name “Jerome Armstrong.” Others, yes, but not his) One of the problems with blogging is that there aren’t HTML-like tags to indicate when the writer is being satirical or sarcastic. Some of us have begun using tags like “/tic” and “/sarcasm” to indicate that the preceding text was tongue-in-cheek or sarcasm.

  20. Anonymous

    I have another point, Dan.The reporter in question also accused bloggers of doing the same thing that happened with the White House and Armstrong Williams.What happened in that case was illegal — a case of “covert propaganda” according to the Government Accountability Office.This is the first CRIME that he implies bloggers committed.The second CRIME is due to the Jerome Armstrong stuff they have apologized for. Certainly posing as different people and filing fraudulent reports to the FEC would be a crime.So you have a reporter making accusations that multiple crimes were committed by bloggers. And then you wonder why they’re upset by saying, well, they should be MORE upset about blogger ethics?They were accused of crimes. OF COURSE they’re going to be upset. You should too. It should bother you that people were wrongly dragged through the mud.And you know what? When you say “some” of them are on the take and don’t say who, that’s unfair.That would like that “some” reporters are on the take, naming only Armstrong Williams, and then using that to discredit ALL reporters.Can you at least name one liberal blogger who didn’t disclose? There’s one conservative blogger mentioned in the NY Times piece as not disclosing until other bloggers called him out and held him accountable.But when you said “some” didn’t disclose (which is plural), were you aware of more than one? Which 2+ were you aware of not disclosing when you hit publish?Or did you rush to judgement, as well?Remember something: you have power. You have power to destroy the credibility of others. Bloggers were wrongly accused of crimes. You should be defending them, not your colleagues.

  21. Anonymous

    Okay. Seriously my last comment.What do you think it says when they had a panel that was entirely either:a) People hostile to blogs ORb) People who know little/nothing about the facts of these casesThere wasn’t one person who didn’t fall into one of those two categories. Not a single one. Most (not all) fell into both.And in the piece itself, not one person is shown defending any SPECIFIC charge. There’s one person who, as we know, was taken out of context and wasn’t talking about the specific case it was edited to look like.So there wasn’t one person allowed to argue against the facts (and false statements) in the piece.I don’t think you’re hostile to bloggers. I do, however, think you need to reexamine this issue and learn more before writing posts like this one.But back to:”The bloggers seem to be notably unflustered about Carroll’s larger point, which is that some of them (not BMG) are on the take from political campaigns, and some of them don’t bother to disclose that.”There wasn’t one single specific charge of anything in that piece, beside the made-up Armstrong thing.Not one.What’s to defend? Are they supposed to get upset at bloggers that the piece says didn’t disclose, when the piece doesn’t even say who those bloggers are? You really expect that?The only blogger I’m aware of that didn’t disclose was a right winger (and was named in the Times). That person was forced to disclose BECAUSE BLOGGERS HELD HIM ACCOUNTABLE. So obviously they DO take these things seriously when they occur.And believe me, people were certainly flustered at the time. You know, back when it was actually news.You are wrong to attack bloggers for not caring when they were the ones who actually cared about it long before you did.What they resent is people with no credibility making baseless accusations — especially when those accusations aren’t directed at specific people, rather at everybody who is a blogger (which includes you).A blog is a way to communicate. Blaming “bloggers” is like blaming everybody who uses a phone, if somebody does something unethical on the phone. Grouping people by method of communication is incredibly stupid.

  22. David

    Dear “Anonymous,” You’re wrong, AGAIN. Do I have to do EVERYTHING for you? From the Globe, 2/23/05: “at an October 2002 campaign debate, [Romney] said: ‘Call me old fashioned, but I don’t support gay marriage nor do I support civil union.’ Then, after the SJC decision legalizing same-sex marriage, he told WCVB on Dec. 17, 2003, that if he had to choose, he would favor civil unions over full-fledged gay marriage. However, he added: ‘But that is not my preference overall. My preference overall would be neither civil union or marriage.'”And again: “‘Faced with a choice of civil unions or gay marriage, I’ll take civil unions anytime,’ Romney said. ‘But that doesn’t make me a supporter of civil unions. . . . My statement in South Carolina is absolutely accurate.'”If someone tells me that I have a choice between being shot in the head and shot in the leg, I’ll pick the leg every time. Doesn’t mean I’m in favor of being shot in the leg. That’s how I read Romney’s statements, and I’m happy to believe him (for once). So I stand by what I said earlier: I don’t think he’s ever backed civil unions. And I don’t particularly care which limited rights he was willing to countenance for gay couples, so I didn’t bother to look it up, since it wasn’t germane to the argument.So: silly and santimonious? Take a look in the mirror, my anonymous friend. (Hmm – do anonymous people have reflections?)

  23. David

    Oh, and Dan, give me a break. I’m happy to accept GB’s nostra culpa on the Armstrong fiasco. But I also think that you’re giving them too easy a pass on how the error occurred, and those two positions are consistent. At this point, you’re going further than GB itself (in its retraction/correction) in defending what happened, and that’s what I objected to above.

  24. John Howard

    How was he supposed to verify that they were real people, anyway? Look them up in the phone book? Email them and demand to see them in person, right now? John Carroll and Emily Rooney and Dan Kennedy I know are real people, but are Mr Lynne and David real people, or perhaps they are both “Jerome Armstrong” person, whom I’ve never seen in person. They could also be people pretending to be real people, like my MySpace friends Paul Pierce, James Dean, and Jesus. The possibility of readers being manipulated by blogger’s alter-ego sock puppets is unique to blogs and undermines their credibility. Also, I think writers being paid by campaigns to keep opining about politics is unique to blogs and also undermines their credibility.

  25. o-fish-l

    I have always found John Carroll to project an unjustified arrogance. Maybe it’s me but whenever one of his smug pieces is shown, I usually say “enough already” after about 15 seconds. You’re on ch. 2 for God’s sake, save the cocky attitude! Just a month after the big “progressive” successes at the polls, it is amusing to already see the infighting.I agree that Mark Jurkowitz was a big loss to the show. Also, it’s a shame they couldn’t keep Bob Zelnick who brought an air of prestige and moderation to the program. None of the other “academics” on the panel impress me, except Dan. With Zelnick, I felt as though I was getting a little bit of a BU journalism class without having to pay for it. Bill Ketter (another BU guy) from the Lawrence-Eagle Tribune and formerly of the Ledger was decent too. As these guys disappear it seems as though BTP doesn’t want any moderate, or dare I say conservative voices.It would be nice to see two progressives and two moderates with the mostly progressive Rooney running the show. Too many liberals on there now. As the old maxim states, “Too much of one thing is good for nothing.”

  26. Zil

    “The bloggers seem to be notably unflustered about Carroll’s larger point, which is that some of them (not BMG) are on the take from political campaigns, and some of them don’t bother to disclose that.”You’re kidding, right? The liberal blogophere has been up in arms about the John Carroll piece for precisely this reason (well, second only to the delicious irony of a *journalism* professor messing up such basic things as reading comprehension and fact-checking). The point is this: the liberal bloggers who have joined campaigns either recused themselves from blogging or posted disclaimers while doing so. Conservative bloggers, OTOH, such as the notorious Thune supporters, have *not* disclosed their affiliations. See: (for the definitive smackdown):

  27. Anonymous

    David Kravitz appears to be incapable of recognizing sarcasm. How ironic.

  28. Mr Lynne

    My name is John Carroll and I’m here to report that anonymous has been taking money from Mit Romney to promote his agenda on various blogs without dislcosing it.Having said that I wonder if it would be responsible for another journalist to repeat that after having read it here. hmmm.

  29. Anonymous

    DanI’m afraid BMG has “jumped the shark”

  30. Anonymous

    How was he supposed to verify that they were real people, anyway?Um … Google the names in question. You’d quickly find (especially if you did a Google image search) thousands of citations of the guys’ names, including appearances on CNN, CSPAN, and other national networks. That would take maybe two minutes, probably less, before you saw your mistake.And, no Dan, the general point isn’t a valid one. In fact, while the Jerome thing is bad (slanderous, really), the big problem bloggers have is with the overall point. Liberal bloggers are NOT on the take. The whole presumption of the piece–that the fees those liberal bloggers took were a form of payola to get them to write positively about the candidates–was completely untrue. The liberal bloggers took funds to act as communications workers/consultants for the campaigns, no different from a columnist taking a leave or quitting his/her job to act as a press aide for a candidate, and probably less shady than a pundit like Paul Begala advising a campaign. The Carroll piece was completely wrong in a general sense beyond the Armstrong screw-up.It’s that mistake that Beat the Press needs to come to grips with and own up to. They have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to the story, and when you have no expertise, it’s incumbent on you to do the basic research on the subject before trying to discuss it. They failed in that basic function of journalism.

  31. Anonymous

    EB3 hereJohn Carroll has nothing to apologize for. Shame on WGBH for not defending him. There was no reason for Carroll to see the sarcasm in the joke at the cool kid’s lunch table. The only reason to call the author of this hysterical piece of writing would be to get a quote or further explanation. Note to John Carroll: DON”T APOLIGIZE Friday night

  32. InsultComicDog

    I echo what Zil said.I think the entire story… even without the mistake of taking obvious satire as real fact… is just wrong, wrong, wrong. It is based on a hit piece by Danny Glover which was full of distortions and out and out inaccuracies. And all of this has been discussed extensively in the blogs that are the subjects of accusations in that article, and in many others, if you would bother to look rather than pontificate on that which you know little about.

  33. Aldon Hynes

    As the blogger whose name was displayed near the beginning of the segment, I feel a need to weigh in with a few comments. You can read the details here.The summary: 1) We expect journalists to check sources and not rely on a single source. It is unfortunate that Mr. Carroll failed to do this.2) While there is an issue with bloggers not representing who they are working for, and this can be a very big issue as noted in the famous Walmart blogs, Glover misrepresents the nature and the scope of the problem. Last weeks broadcast amplified this misrepresentation. Most bloggers, and especially most liberal political bloggers tend towards disclosure.3) All of this seems to be based on some fundamental misunderstanding of what blogs are and who bloggers are.

  34. Cos

    You miss the point(s) entirely.To begin with, excusing Carroll for being fooled by the satire, as if it were a minor but understandable mistake: umm, it would’ve been obvious to him if he’d done no more than merely read the comments on that very post. That he didn’t even do that much shows more than unacceptable sloppiness, it shows that he wanted to believe in this so much that he didn’t want to find that it wasn’t true.Now, what’s the “larger point”? Does he actually have any evidence at all that secret pay is common in the mainstream political blog world? It’s never happened on the major liberal blogs he and the NY Times are trying to implicate (dailykos, mydd, etc – never). In fact they’ve only turned up one real example. They miss a few sleazy conservative bloggers but other than some ham-handed attempts at anonymous commenting, even that’s pretty rare (Thune bloggers in the campaign against Daschle).Now, I can think of five prominent cases of print journalists/columnists who were being paid to bias their view and did not disclose it. So it seems to me this problem is bigger on the print side than the blog side.The common factor in both cases is that the overall community doesn’t tolerate it. That’s more true on the blog side than on the print side.And that brings is to the real “larger point”, which you’ve totally missed. These pundits talk about accountability as if it’s a blog problem, while they themselves are telling a false story, demonstrating it with false “facts” and no actual evidence whatsoever, and what sort of accountability is there for them? None from the print & TV journalists. All the “accountability” is coming from the blogs.You should be embarassed. Or at least have the decency to drop it rather than continuing to dig the hole.

  35. Cos

    “John made a mistake. “Greater Boston” has issued a correction. Unfortunately, I do think it’s a characteristic of some bloggers — and, David, you’re heading in that direction — to be entirely unable to let go and take “yes” for an answer.”This is like Bush “accepting responsibility”. The point isn’t to get the right words out of someone, it’s to get at the substance. You’re still here claiming, or implying, that liberal bloggers are getting surrepetitiously paid to support candidates. That’s false.Greater Boston may have issued a correction to their most egregious error: the evidence they used to demonstrated their point, was actually false, something they could’ve discovered in minutes of cursory research (like, reading the comments on that post). So, sure, that was so blatantly ridiculous, I’m glad they corrected. But the larger issue is that the “larger issue” is also false, not just the fake evidence the used to support it. I haven’t seen them correct that, or even acknowledge the irony inherent in their criticism of the blogs.

  36. Steve

    This is what I hope gets addressed in Friday’s BTP:- Carroll’s botched reporting re: Armstrong (which should be handled with a quick “I blew it” apology and retraction)- A real analysis of Glover’s NY Times op-ed – which bloggers are disclosing their ties and which are not- a discussion of “accountability” in opinion journalism, from op-eds to roundtables to blogs (why is Jerome Armstrong different from Paul Begala or James Carville or Dan Payne or …?)- and if credibility is the bottom line, why does any opinion show feature Bill Kristol or Charles Krauthammer any more (just to name a couple), having been constantly wrong about almost everything for the past 4 years at least?What I expect to hear, though, is Emily Rooney and John Carroll lamenting about how cruel the commentary on the internet has been to them this week. I would tell them “that’s accountability, deal with it”.

  37. Anonymous

    Rooney and Carroll are a couple of hacks and they have had this coming to them for a while. Like I really need Greater Boston to tell me what’s going on on the web. (Rooney still pronounces the term “blog” slowly for her many non-computer savvy viewers.) GB is irrelevant and I agree with others here that DK is the only voice on BTP worth hearing. Fortunately, almost no one, certainly no one who is not in the biz, watches it anyway.

  38. InsultComicDog

    Steve’s right… the odds of the bloggers getting a fair shake in a mainstream media broadcast are very low indeed.Sure, they will correct the one error that made them look like complete idiots. But I doubt they will address the other errors that they have made… nor will they admit, as they should, that virtually everything they said about bloggers was wrong!

  39. Anonymous

    Some quotes from the YouTube segment: Rooney, “Not that they have great credibility anyway, but this [presumably “this” refers to Carroll’s whole would-have-been expose’] is exceedingly damaging to the credibility of these bloggers.” John Sciacca, “There is no accountability in the blogosphere.” Niwa, “I think we’ve just scratched the surface of the credibility of the blogs.” and Carrol, “These bloggers don’t care about being a credible source, they care about being movers, movers of the process. They think they can go out there and be players now.”Sorry, but in hindsight these bloated self-righteous stances are pretty hard to take. Where was the accountability in the Beat the Press editorial process? Leslie

  40. Anonymous

    David,anon10:13 hereDamn, but you’re arrogant. In reality, Mitt did support civil unions as an alternative to Goodrich. If you’d done any digging at all, you would have found that. Your accepting him at face value is precisely why BMG is irrelevant.Maybe when you see Deval you can engage him in an intellectual discussion of the benefits of slavery. I’m sure he’ll take it just as well as the gay people you drove off of BMG with your “let the people vote” obsession.

  41. Jim

    Mr. Kennedy,I will happily give Mr. Carroll the benefit of doubt as to his swallowing Singer’s satirical post hook, line, and sinker … but, only if you will, during Friday’s broadcast, directly address Mr. Carroll’s “… larger point, which is that some of them [bloggers] (not BMG) are on the take from political campaigns, and some of them don’t bother to disclose that.” In particular, do us the service of 1) Listing — on air– which bloggers have been on the take from political campaigns without disclosure.2) Stating — on air — precisely how you know that these bloggers have committed this sin.3) Comparing — on air — this list to the list of all newspaper columnists (e.g., Armstrong Williams) who have committed the same act over the last 5 years or so (the approximate length of time blogging has been going on).4) Noting — on air — any any correlations of such unethical actions to political orientation (e.g., conservatives vs. liberals, Republicans vs. Democrats, Iraq-war supporters vs. Iraq-War opponents, etc.)The story here is that either Carroll’s larger point is unsupported by the facts, or the facts supporting Carroll’s larger point have yet to be made public.If, instead of Carroll’s larger point, the panel discussion focuses on Carroll’s inexplicable failure to verify the bizarre assertions in the satirical post about Armstrong, then the panel — collectively and individually — will fail in their duties as journalists.Eagerly awaiting Friday’s broadcast, I remain,Most Sincerely Yours,Jim

  42. Anonymous

    I certainly hope that Dan takes the above input regarding “the larger issue” to heart before Friday, because that is the most important part of this. I would also like to think that the GB folks will read these comments as well. Emily in particular, and John as her side-kick, have long been hostile to issue-blogging, doubtless because they realize that it is a threat to their relevancy. I used to be a regular GB viewer but have found better sources for timely insights and analysis–on line. However, this is a golden opportunity for the BtP panel to open their minds, learn how the blog world operates, learn about the actual ethics of the prominent liberal bloggers, and perhaps think creatively about how they can make Greater Boston relevant again–and maybe even bring back a few viewers who have wandered off. Like myself. But at least I’ll be watching Friday. 🙂

  43. Anonymous

    Emily Rooney displayed an incredible lack of curiosity and knowledge of the one thing that has done more than anything else to disrupt and alter her sacred profession. Ignorance is bliss I guess.Bloggers accepting money from candidates was “news to me” according to Emily. That news is at least two years old. Way to keep your finger on the pulse

  44. Anonymous

    “…doubtless because they realize that it is a threat to their relevancy.”Yes, doubtless! Assume as negative a motivation as possible, for that is the most likely.If they don’t address my list of demands, then they have failed in their duty as journalists!And, the point isn’t to get the “right words” out of someone–it’s to get at the “substance”.This is so true. Let’s be done with the pretense then shall we, and get these tools off to the re-education camp where they belong.Confess your crimes! And it is not enough to merely recite them–you must mean it. Repentance must come from within, and we will be the judges of your sincerity. Acknowledge your irrelevance and cluelessness. Puppets of the imperialist MSM hegemon, bow to us, the keepers of the New Order! Grovel before our righteous presence, running dogs, that we, at our whim, may spare you!

  45. Anonymous

    Okay, Neil, that will be quite enough hyperbole for today. I guess someone has Mao on the brain. Now class, let’s review why Emily and John are lousy fraud mediocrities posing as journalists.(That last part is not sarcasm, for all the clueless among us. They are lousy journalists.)

  46. Jim

    One wonders if Neil (posting at 6:25 PM) agrees with Mr. Kennedy that Mr. Carroll’s “larger point … is that some of them [bloggers] (not BMG) are on the take from political campaigns, and some of them don’t bother to disclose that.”For, if Mr. Kennedy is correct, then the accuracy of Mr. Carroll’s larger point should be the focus of the panel discussion. There have been many assertions in the blogosphere (including several comments in this thread) that Carroll’s reporting was simply wrong. Or, does Neil believe that a segment entitled “Beat the Press” should, in fact, ignore the controversy about the accuracy of Mr. Carroll’s reporting.

  47. Lisa

    Blogs are a very convenient jumping off point for journalists to talk about their own profession, and I feel many of the pieces I read that purport to be about blogging reveal very little curiosity about blogs. Many pieces suffer from a kind of “topical drift,” where some assertion about blogs is made…and then, off to discussing the woes and virtues of the traditional media, never to return to the original subject.

  48. Anonymous

    as an average schmoe deeply confused by this internecine kerfuffle, i have a simple request: could someone pls create a WatchBlog site that offers a factual list of bloggers who take $, those who dont, those who have in the past but no longer do so, those who have recused while taking $$ and then returned to blogging, etc. … that way when i read a blog i can check the history of the blogger and her or his contributors and know in what cases $$ has come into play … ? this would be far more useful than a big poopfight. on another matter, i dont see how a blog’s endorsement of a candidate is diff. than that of a newspaper … was joe sciacca’s herald an extension of the healey campaign …? it sure read like one.

  49. Anonymous

    Who is on the take?Who isn’t disclosing it?The only bloggers I’m aware of who were working secretly for a campaign were working for John Thune in South Dakota in 2004. But if you were to listen to the Carroll group and look at the NY Times chart, you would think that liberal bloggers were the perpetrators of this evil, when in fact all of the accusations tend to peter out when looked at more closely. For example, the name of Pandagon was implicated because Jesse Taylor, who owned the blog, went to work for a campaign. Of course he told everybody what he was doing and sold the blog to Amanda Marcotte. So what’s the issue? It also seems a bit weak for John Carroll to go on TV assuming that one blogger had been using five aliases on his own blog. These people are supposed to be reporters, right? A simple phone call or email would have cleared up this issue and saved everybody a lot of grief. Now you’re in the position of trying to defend Carroll. “Uh, it’s reasonable to think that one person was faking five identities”. Sure, and if we were told that “Fred Barnes”, “Pat Buchanan”, and “Bob Novak” were the same person, it would be reasonable to pass that on uncritically.That Carroll believed such a ludicrous story tells more about him than it does about the bloggers. Apparently Carroll comes to this topic with a log of negative presumptions about independent blogging. Furthermore, he cannot be bothered to do minimal research before passing on false inflammatory accusations to the public. Shame on him.

  50. Anonymous

    In particular, let’s look at the time stamps of the post and the first few comments:Clearing Things Up by Jonathan Singer, Sun Dec 03, 2006 at 06:19:10 PM GMT”…The reason why may shock you: Chris, Matt and Jonathan do not exist, despite any previous claims. He got me. We’re all the same person. I (Jerome) have been writing under these aliases the entire time I have been working on other campaigns.”Comments(first comment)It figures that an NRO flack would mention all Dem bloggers except McCain and Allen. Just another case of whiny bitches who are pissed because they got their asses handed to them this election. This election shows the reason why state houses are so Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle on Sun Dec 03, 2006 at 06:32:21 PM GMT (second comment)Are you serious? Is this a confession of blatant wrongdoing or are you intentionally exaggerating what appears to be a serious transgression of blogging ethics?Roberto in Utahby reder01 on Sun Dec 03, 2006 at 06:58:43 PM GMT (reply to second comment)He’s joking. We all exist.And you’re seriously not paying attention if you think that what Glover wrote about amounts to “a serious transgression of blogging ethics.”by Scott Shields on Sun Dec 03, 2006 at 07:17:08 PM GMT So, figuring out that this was a joke post wasn’t all that hard. The truth is right there in the third comment following the post.

  51. Brian Maloney

    Hate to ask an obvious question, but why weren’t there any bloggers on this particular panel discussion? And I mean real bloggers, not newspaper guys who dabble a bit on their publication’s website between deadlines.The ongoing problem with “Beat The Press” is that it’s so obviously the exclusive domain of Boston’s stuffy, tiny and very outdated media establishment. This panel was having a debate over the blogosphere that other pundits wrapped up two years ago.

  52. Bob Neer

    Hi Dan. I linked to this thread in the comments to my Penance Friday post that you didn’t like. Good luck with the grading.

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