Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Times Union of Jacksonville, FL Just does not get it!

Son-of-Duke, who lives in Jacksonville, FL forwarded this "Opinion" piece from the Jacksonville Times Union, today's edition. Apparently written to explain about Blogs, this unidentified author has more wrong statements in a few lines than you can probably count!

After Hugh Hewitt's fine work earlier this week on CNN & Fox and Friends, where he answers the "totally unaccountable medium" charge, I just had to forward this to him!

I intend to answer the opinion, but hope Hugh see fit to do the same as he does it so much more succinctly!

Here's the Opinion:


A recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project reveals that Internet blog readership has increased dramatically in the past year.

Twenty-seven percent of Internet users are reading blogs, according to the report, re- presenting a whopping 58 percent increase from 2003. Just 62 percent of surveyed Internet users said they don't know exactly what a blog is.

Those numbers raise an eyebrow. Trends that increase by 58 percent in one year are not to be ignored.

Blogs, for the uninitiated, are Web logs, essentially forms of Internet diaries that range from the day-to-day journals of average lonely hearts to the political rantings and ravings of hotheads and those who interact with them on their blog sites.

They differ from old-fashioned Web sites in that they disseminate information quickly and without oversight. Some of them masquerade as established think tanks.

Thus, there is a lot of strange information out there in blog-land. It is a universe still occupied by the relatively young and male user, although that will no doubt change as the medium becomes more familiar.

There are no rules in blog-land. There is no code of ethics or signing of oaths before one becomes an official blogger. Just sign up and start ranting.

The information found on political or consumer-related blogs can be subsidized by an unseen sponsor. Blogs can look as though they were created by Joe Blow, when they're actually a guerrilla marketing tool of Joe Giant Conglomerate Inc.

As anyone who has tried to do family genealogy research on the Web knows, there is a lot of bad information out there. The only rules in Webville are those governing http, html and other computer coding protocols. No one rules taste or truth.

We'll never see effective laws governing what people post in cyberspace. That's never going to happen in the First Amendment country we live in and has been tough to implement even in a totalitarian place like China where, according Radio Free Asia, Chinese Web police are not suppressing political debate or dissent.

Even attempts to cajole bloggers into adopting journalistic principles of accountability and fairness are toothless. Bloggers can't be fired. By nature, these independent roamers of cyberspace are never going to be corralled into a rule- or ethics- based system. They're no more controllable than the friendly debate between barflies sharing a pitcher of beer.

"Buyer beware" is the only code that will ever rule the land of blog.

The Internet is a fast river of information, both good and bad. Blogs will always tend to fall into the latter category
(My emphasis).

Man, this writer may still be typing on a manual typewriter!