passive aggressive whining25 Dec 2005
Bill Hobbs asks “Should MSM Bloggers Be Fair?”
Underlying this High-Minded Question of Serious Journalism that Bill Knows About Because He Used To Be A Journalist of course is the tacit assumption that Nashville Is Talking is not fair – a point made clear in the comments by others and Bill himself as well:
Given the pronounced leftward tilt of NIT, a big chunk of NIT’s potential audience is right to assume that you neither wanted to know the whole truth nor wanted readers to know it.
If WKRN wants NIT to be a leftwing blog that’s hostile to conservatives, so be it.
Let’s take a few step back and deconstruct these statements. First there’s the assertion that NiT is a) unfair and b) “hostile to conservatives”. As evidence, Bill presents .. well, nothing. To support his assertion that there’s a “whole truth” that Nashville Is Talking Doesn’t Want You To Know, he presents .. nothing. Unless of course Bill is referring to “reality” or “the facts”, which I will agree have been quite hostile to Bill’s worldview in the past.
So, unable to present a clear example of hostility we’re left to assume that Bill simply finds Brittney’s political slant to be hostile. His natural reaction appears to be that since NiT is a “MSM” (“MainStream Media” – a frequently used keyword that I think is used to indicate: whining to follow), it should be held to some mysterious ideal of “objectivity”. It’s particularly ironic coming from Bill, who has written frequently about the revolutionary nature of blogs to challenge and usurp the “MSM”. Take for example this bit from Bill’s Mission Statement:
Basically, what I do here is write about the things I wish the mainstream media - the “MSM” - were writing about so I wouldn’t have to. When they do, I’ll stop.
So, in Nashville is Talking, we have a “MSM”-sponsored blog talking about things that the “MSM” isn’t, and yet Bill still disapproves. Odd. What’s the problem? I guess what Bill really wants is for the MSM to only address Bill-Approved items.
The problem with “bias” is only when falsehoods are presented as facts. Assertions and stories are open to debate on NiT. If Bill or anyone else has a problem with things there, they’re free to debate them. That’s why blogs are powerful. If Bill really believes in the revolutionary opportunity that blogs pose, maybe he ought to spend more time making his voice heard rather than whining about other blogs and using the cudgel of “MSM” objectivity to quash opposing viewpoints.
I wouldn’t be surprised if NiT eventually did expand its authorship and introduce a complementary opposing voice. But it would be wrong to do it because of any antiquated notion of maintaining objectivity.
Claims of bias or a lack of objectivity are codewords. What they really mean is: “I don’t support what you’re saying but I can’t use my brain to rebut it, so I’m just going to whine about bias.” There is a case to be made for the dangers of bias in larger media outfits (if you think the problem is with a slant to the right or left, you’re wrong, but that’s a debate for another day), because these large media outfits have a forum for dissemination of knowledge and influence that is difficult to counter. There’s no “comments” section on Nightline. But to apply this sort of hysterical handwringing to a blog is just laughable.
If you find something objectionable on a blog, address it and counter it. Welcome to the revolution. Put up or shut up.