Monday, April 18, 2005

SCHEER LAZINESS. Connoisseurs of Media Log as well as the late, lamented will smile knowingly at Howard Kurtz's item today on columnist Robert Scheer. The hapless pundit picked up a story about William Bennett and the pope from the Houston Catholic Worker, of all places, without bothering to check it out. Says Scheer: "I should have been more careful." Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Here's the column.

Kurtz also makes contact with Barbara Stewart, the freelancer behind the Globe's fabricated seal-hunt story. I feel bad for her. This seems like one of those inexplicable errors in judgment that's going to hurt her for years.


Anonymous said...

I could read you all day!(and for a minute there I thought I was going to do so..)

Anonymous said...

Kind of ironic that Mr. Kurtz gives his professional colleagues several graph's to boo-hoo about rude and unfair hate mail from "baked-potato brains" before getting around to mentioning the inexcusable behavior of Scheer and Stewart.

Anonymous said...

Dan: as a blogging journalist who has discussed the blogger phenomenon, you must have some thoughts on Howard Kurtz's piece that precedes his item on Scheer, no?

It seems to me that it is the latest installment in what has become Kurtz's personal campaign to stereotype all bloggers and web users as knee-jerk, partisan crazies. Though he takes pains to document the slings and arrows suffered by Howard Finemen, Adam Nagourney, Jeff Greenfield et. al. from hate-mailers and crude polemicists (as heart-rending as Tsunami victims, let me tell you) he never mentions any of the high-quality media criticism and breakthrough information-sharing that flourishes on the web.

Comedian and former journalist Bob Somerby, for example, has been blogging media criticism almost every day for several years; his work is thoughtful, humorous and far more rigorous than just about anything found in the major papers or on TV (including the drivel Kurtz produces).

Likewise, Eric Alterman publishes an excellent progressive critique of the politics and the press (seasoned with music reviews) at his weblog Altercation on MSNBC. There are numerous other writers, professors, economists, academics and researchers who criticize the media from their own particular perspective on blogs like Orcinus, Instapundit, Informed Comment, Crooked Timber, and Talking Points Memo (and let's not forget Media Log!).

And what about weblogs at places like CJR, Media Matters and Romenesko? What about aggregator blogs like Today in Iraq, which pulls together issue-specific stories downplayed in the mainstream US media? There is even a Media Bloggers Association!

It seems to me that many of these Blogs and web sites, regardless of their ideological bent, provide real value and media criticism of a quality that is as good or better than what's on cable TV and the pages of The Post.

You know Kurtz, so how about encouraging him to talk about the full range of web logs and their positive accomplishments, instead of hosting Pity Parties for the press celebrities emotionally wounded by a few rabble-rousers.

-David Fitzhugh