Thursday, February 23, 2006

FT Mag on Blogs

Not a bad article, except for...

1) straw-man argument - blogs are doomed to failure because
they can never replace big media! Who says we want to replace the Financial
Times? The argument is rubbish because the premise doesn't hold.

2) bizarre logic - we should be even more suspicious "because no-one is even
pretending to get rich", apparently. So being financially disinterested
makes you LESS credible? Wot?

3) false generalisation - apparently blogs do no reporting. Solution: read
some different blogs. I suspect he read Instapundit and Kos, and is now an
expert. Oh, and we all work for Gawker.

4) unrepresentative sample - yes, Ana Marie "Wonkette" Cox is pretty and she's a yank, that doesn't make her The Spokeswoman For Blog.
In fact, apart from the wildly overrated Instapundit, the only blogs he
appears to have read are the Gawker Media ones. Not only do none of these
really do reporting, and all of them are run by pros, they are also
commercial enterprises. Is it any coincidence that this covers all the bases
of his critique?

5) factual inaccuracy - contrary to his final thundering paragraph,
anthologies of blog have indeed been published in dead-tree form *right here
in London, and are available in bookshops within yards of FT headquarters!*
Apparently "the Gawker spirit" (see 4 above) is "wearing a little thin in
light of a seemingly endless bloody insurgency in Iraq..blah...Hurricane
Katrina...blah..corruption". It may be, I dunno because I think Gawker's
stuff is shit and don't read it. But blogs have repeatedly broken news
stories on Iraq (that includes me, btw), have even sent their own reporter
to Iraq (Chris Alliton of Back to Iraq, who went to Kurdistan in 2003 funded
by reader contributions - why didn't he interview him?), both reported live
on scene from Katrina and organised volunteer aid for refugees (I think I
missed the FT helping), and have led the news agenda on Capitol Hill
corruption (Josh Michua Marshall's Talking Points Memo is the place to go,
and it employs no less that two full-time reporters! But we don't do
reporting do we?)

6) Oh yes, and Marx was a cracking writer, but Instapundit obviously hasn't
read him

7) Cluelessness - OF COURSE the best way to report on a decentralised
Internet medium is to fly at once to Washington DC and talk to the only
blogger anyone at the FT can find in Who's Who! After all, if I just read
some blogs and asked questions, I wouldn't be able to milk my expense
account or have the yanks stroke my ego - and life would no longer be worth

If I was responsible for this heap of facile crapola I'd throw in the towel and go into public relations.

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