Bob, the third member of the Blue Mass Group troika, has weighed in with his thoughts on the “Greater Boston” blogging piece. His contribution is clarifying, partly in a good way, partly not. Let me pull out what I think are the main points:
1. It all started with that New York Times piece. In Bob’s view, the Times op-ed on political bloggers who are paid by campaigns was “sloppy because it lumps all bloggers who have taken money from politicians together, even though what the bloggers have done, and what they have disclosed, is very different in many cases.”
Bob hails Charley’s analysis of same, but I think Bob’s summary is more useful. I thought it was hard to tell whether Charley believed the Times article was wrong, was accurate but misunderstood by John Carroll and company, or somewhere in between.
Any fair reading of the Times op-ed would lead one to conclude that some leading political bloggers were taking money from candidates to write favorable things about them on their own sites (as opposed, or in addition, to the candidates’ sites), and that some of them were disclosing that fact and some weren’t.
Now, if you think “Greater Boston” should not have used the Times piece as fodder for discussion without independently verifying every purported fact contained therein, then your view of the media-criticism world is very different from mine. Suffice it to say that it would take a month to put together a show if every single media report that’s used is treated as though it were wrong until proven right.
2. “Greater Boston” and Carroll made a mistake. Uh, I think that’s been established. And acknowledged. And corrected.
Like every working journalist, I’ve got a pile of corrections to my credit. If I can hang on until 2010, I’ll be able to say that I’ve had corrections published about my work over five decades. It happens. (OK, 2011 for those of you who think a new decade doesn’t begin until the end of the year ending in zero.)
3. BMG blogger David Kravitz was screwed. Kravitz has claimed that an interview “Greater Boston” did with him made it appear that he was directly speaking about Armstrong, and that his words were thus distorted and manipulated.
I disagree. I’ve watched the segment twice now, and it didn’t strike me that Kravitz was addressing Armstrong’s situation specifically, but, rather, conflicts of interest involving bloggers in general.
I heartily endorse the Massachusetts Liberal’s take on this. He writes:
I’m not troubled by how David Kravitz sounded, even if he believes he was cut and pasted inappropriately. He comes across as a strong believer in the value of blogging and in the ability of the blogosphere to police its own.
4. Bob undermines himself with an inflated sense of his own importance. Without a shred of irony, Bob writes about “bits of arrogance continu[ing] to fall from the sky.” No, he’s not talking about himself and his fellow bloggers.
Bob follows up with a ransom note demanding that Carroll take a leave of absence, that “Greater Boston” issue a public apology and that Kravitz be included as a panelist. Good grief. Actually, the third demand wouldn’t be a bad idea were it not for the absurdity of the first two.
And by the way, I’m not saying that Bob and company are being arrogant because they’re trying to place themselves on the same level as the mainstream media. No, they’re being arrogant in a way that I’ve never seen on the part of journalists I respect.