Thursday, August 03, 2006

Oh, where do I begin?

I love Detroit Lakes. I vacation there often during the summer--it's my home away from home. But even within the friendly small-town confines of Detroit Lakes, there still lie elitist newspaper editors:
The mainstream media gets beat up all the time with attacks on the “liberal press,” but for some truly biased reporting, check out the Web logs, or “blogs” on the Internet.

Some harken to the days of yellow journalism, when newspapers were firmly on the side of one political group or another — like the historic “We Win” headline on the “Cheers” television show reruns.

As our St. Paul bureau chief, Don Davis, points out in a column, all blogs are not created equal.

The simple truth is, most are not news, and not reliable. They are someone’s opinion, often not even an informed opinion.

I've never regarded this blog (or any other blog on which I write) as anything else. I have an agenda:

"A CONSERVATIVE educator's foray into the world of the blogosphere."

The title of my other blog, Murtha Must Go!, clearly states an agenda--right at the top of the blog. I make no bones about it. Unlike newspapers, the purpose of this blog is not to "report" the news. The purpose of this blog is to give my opinion regarding news and other events. I have never fancied myself as impartial, nor have I ever claimed to be in any my screeds. I am a pundit.

But Davis says there are some good political blogs in Minnesota, including some that are beating the mainstream media to the news.

Recently, for instance, the Minnesota Public Radio blog ( /polinaut ) reported some interesting information:

“WCCO-TV’s public file says the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has purchased $403,425 in television ads during the last month of the election. The 271 ads will run on the daily newscasts, Oprah, the soaps and the NFL pre-game shows.”

On the last day of filing for elective office, Davis says several blogs ran updates, including some live from the hallway outside the secretary of state’s office. “Bill Luther is filing right now,” one blog proclaimed.

Blogs have been common for about five years, becoming increasingly popular among political commentators, candidates, parties and journalists. But Davis warns you must do some research before believing what you read.

As you should with everything you read. Too bad the MSM doesn't do adequate research before printing their drivel. Also, does the name Jayson Blair have any meaning?

The state’s best-known political blog may be Michael B. Brodkorb’s “Minnesota Democrats Exposed.”

It’s the one that got the mainstream media interested in Rep. Matt Entenza’s investigation of fellow Democrat Mike Hatch. Some credit Brodkorb with knocking Entenza out of the race.

Brodkorb is a former Republican Party employee who now works for couple of GOP-oriented organizations (including the Mark Kennedy campaign). He has a knack for getting incriminating documents. Of course, he only posts the ones that would hurt Democrats, so readers must keep that in mind and not expect an unbiased report.

Of course you shouldn't expect an unbiased report from MDE. Thus the name! Michael Brodkorb is quite up front regarding his agenda. But at the same time a heck of a lot of savvy people have come to the unfortunate realization that one should never expect an "unbiased" report from the Detroit Lakes Tribune, or from any other newspaper. They all bring their biases into the story, how they word the story, and what stories they choose to print or not to print. But you'll never get them to admit it. The overwhelming majority of bloggers, on the other hand, are very much up front about their biases. They tell you right up front, rather than hiding behind a cloak of "impartiality".
While journalists generally stick to certain principles, such as trying to bring readers both sides of a story, bloggers are under no such obligation.
Apparently, neither are those whom you call "journalists." under any such obligation.
So for people wanting to get news from blogs, Davis warns, it’s reader beware.
It's a two-way street, bud...
And neo-conservatives may want to lighten up on their constant attempts to undermine the mainstream media.

Believe it or not, most reporters and editors do strive to be accurate, fair and unbiased in their work — regardless of their political views. And there are liberals, moderates and, yes, conservatives, in all newsrooms.

Turnabout is fair play, and the press is certainly not above criticism — mistakes are made and poor news judgment happens.

But continually undermining the mainstream media for cynical political reasons is a dangerous game, and one that we fear could ultimately undermine democracy itself.

Oh spare me the drama already! Bloggers do nothing to "undermine democracy." Bloggers are a check and balance to media--a virtual town hall. To me, that is the essence of democracy and freedom of political speech.

No, DL Tribune--we don't need bloggers to undermine democracy.

The New York Times has taken that mantle on quite nicely, thank you.

(Filed under First Amendment Assaults, the fifth column)