The Guardian has a feature on blogging, particularly in response to the recent controversy over the forged documents at CBS:
CBS was doubly at fault. It failed to appreciate the force of the thousands of voluntary fact-checkers out there on the web (let alone trying to harness their power in advance), while also failing to interview bloggers after the event as part of an ongoing story.
The article talks of how newspapers often claim to be superior because of their long-established filtration and editing process, in contrast to the anarchic processes in operation on the web, but in fact, bloggers are often “experts”. I’m sure some bloggers are experts, but there is good and bad on both sides.
Both bloggers and newspapers are quite capable of filtering content to suit their own biases, although bloggers can do so much more blatantly. Thus you’ll occasionally get a Guardian writer appearing in the Spectator, or a Tory in the Guardian and the Independent, but on some blogs, comments disagreeing with the party line are deleted and the supporters are allowed to bay like animals. This piece calls bloggers “voluntary fact-checkers”, but many of them are quite happy to put out lies and distortions in order to make their point, while picking apart someone else’s lies (deliberate or otherwise) when they disagree with their opinions.
I mean, the details of George Bush’s time in the Texas Air Guard or whatever is secondary to the fact that he, like many of his cabinet, found ways to avoid serving in Vietnam (quite rightly), but are now all too eager to send young men (and women, and married couples with children) into war on thouroughly dubious grounds. But these subtleties get lost when a bunch of Faux News fans discover an inaccuracy in a CBS story, which actually does not detract from the real issue.
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