Michael Wilbon Is Afraid Of Blogs

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Michael Wilbon was on the Mike Tirico Show (that just doesn't have a ring to it at all) yesterday to discuss many things. One of which was Mike Gundy the Oklahoma State Coach who took it to the Oklahoman reporter. You all know the story.

Well the interview was going along fine and he was saying all of the right things....you shouldn't criticize college athletes (true), and that no one is questioning the reporters facts (which is true and something she doesn't get).....when Scott Van Pelt posed the question of how blogs and credibility play into all of this.....

Mike Tirico Show Audio 9/25 (Start listening around the 4 minute mark)

"I dont know how old Jenny Carlson is, but perhaps if she's younger and I'm not assuming but if you are a younger writer and that's why I asked how long you've been at it, perhaps you're more inclined to be more blogger..."- Scott Van Pelt

"YES!"- Michael Wilbon

"....in other words more critical than you would be to to be more towards the side of the guy in the hat wearing....that says press on it...the more journalistic. Do you buy that?"- SVP

"Yes. I do buy it. And I have gone after some of our younger staffers at the Washington Post to say I don't want to read this again. That's not what we do. Umm, you know everybody....the notion of blogging scares the hell out of me Scott, and.....this is why. There's no accountability....stuff isn't edited. It just goes out there as gospel. What it is is opinion, there's way too much rumor...."- MW
Okay stop right there. You can listen to the rest if you want, but I don't want blockquote the whole thing. I have two simple points to make and then I'm opening it up for discussion. One, you say blogs are opinion-based Michael......What the hell is PTI???? You bitch with Kornheiser about whether the Bears should sit Grossman (opinion) and put on masks and pretend to act as someone.

Two, there's no accountability for anyone anymore in any walk of life. What accountability has ESPN taken for the Harold Reynolds/Sexual Harassment issue(s)? How about when Chris Mortensen claims he breaks stories or gets the facts of the Vick indictment COMPLETELY wrong??? And rumors? Well ESPN.com has a whole section completely devoted to trade rumors, which never come true. Help me out here.....every media outlet is going with the "if it bleeds it leads" approach and you and ESPN are just as guilty as TMZ and Entertainment Tonight.

Mainstream Media just doesn't get the direction that media is going in. Everyone has an opinion....blogs just come with 1000 times less spin and bias. Be afraid Michael....be VERY afraid. We are a scary lot. We spew lies and have no idea what we're talking about. Of course that's not the reason you should be afraid. Blogs allow immediate and critical feedback of our work and in most cases we work and will work harder than you to get our medium accepted. That why you should be afraid.....very afraid. Just wait until teams begin to give us the access that you have.

(Thanks to MM for forwarding on the clip.)

66 Comments:

Michael probably also blames the music industry problem on Napster and the generic "youth of America today" problem on MySpace.

I teach journalism. My kids know better than to write a horseshit article like Jenny Carlson's without any credible sources or legitimate facts.

Don't forget, AA, that legitimate bloggers would also never destroy their credibility by participating in a "Who's Now" segment.

The ESPNs of the world are so in bed with the leagues they cover that what they do really shouldn't count as "journalism" anymore. And the local "journalists" and sportstalk hosts won't be overly critical (except against people who will never hurt them) because they're afraid that their "access" will be jeopardized or their press passes will be pulled.

Yeah, Mike, that's real journalism, and blogging isn't a natural seismic shift because you guys aren't serving the public. Just like Napster didn't happen because the music industry didn't have a fucking clue about addressing the public's needs. And the same goes for the Internet "gatekeepers" and social networking.

Okay, I'm done too, AA. Too bad people like us are the problem.

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 10:39:00 AM  

I think Wilbon is right in a way. There is no accountability for bloggers (which is why I like blogs). Blogs are all about calling Mike Patrick a douche or curshing Rex Grossman. And print journalists don't have the same discretion and can't express the same candor.

That being said, I'll take blogs any day over the USA Today but I don't think Wilbon should be chastised as a villain against bloggers. He was asked his opinion and admitted that we scare the piss out of him.

GMoney said...
Sep 26, 2007, 10:45:00 AM  

Wow...I completely erased Who's Now from my thoughts. Great points, and the Napster analogy is perfect. Culture is changing and ESPN is trying to get it, but they still have no clue.

Sep 26, 2007, 10:45:00 AM  

first of all, carlson got all her info off message boards. second, no one holds you guys accountable at all.

deadspin with the puljos case, and espn does get held accountable by you and others. so that is bullshit.

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 10:46:00 AM  

Bloggers "call Mike Patrick a douche" and then they link the Youtube clip of Mike Patrick's "Britney moment" TO PROVE BEYOND THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT THAT HE'S A DOUCHE.

Jenni Carlson would say that "if you believe the rumors and mumblings, then Mike Patrick is a douche."

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 10:50:00 AM  

as far as my experience goes with blogs and web forums there is plenty of editing. I've been kicked of off more opinion based forums than anyone else i know for "participating" like everyone else. There is one time I admit hat I was out of control and disserved being banned from a forum page but editing does happen on those forums if you paint a less than rosy picture of something/one.

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 10:50:00 AM  

G- I'm not chastising him as an enemy at all. I think he's great at what he does.

With that said....for someone who is as in the know and at the "top" of their field like Mike is....he should know exactly what is going on.

How many of you read blogs that just come up with rumors? I don't think I read any. The only insanely popular blog I can think of would be KSK, but that is satire and completely different. Just about every blog has sources in the industry, no matter what that industry is. Sometime(s) things don't pan out with those sources, just like they don't in "real media".

I just think it's ignorant and uneducated to think that all blogs are these rumor-mongering entities.

Sep 26, 2007, 10:52:00 AM  

how many times on blogs have people said about killing people or blowing up espn. deadspin and biglead allows it.

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 10:54:00 AM  

how many times on blogs have people said about killing people or blowing up espn. deadspin and biglead allows it.

There's a difference between humor and reality, and you should probably look into it.

MDT said...
Sep 26, 2007, 10:56:00 AM  

exactly some of blogs sources are wrong, but no one calls you out.

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 10:57:00 AM  

He's worried about competition and his fat ass losing his nice little ESPN job.

That's all it is.

hollywood wags said...
Sep 26, 2007, 11:01:00 AM  

Everyone calls everyone out...that's the point. By Wilbon saying blogs aren't credible that's calling us out. By us saying that Mortensen is completely wrong...that's us calling ESPN out. I don't get that point at all.

Blogs allow immediate and honest feedback for the most part. I never delete comments (unless they are completely heinous, but I've never had to) and I admit when I'm wrong.

And as far as the Mike Patrick thing...sure, he's a douche for that incident and he has a laundry list of gaffs. I think the video backs that up....although I wouldn't call him a douche personally.

Sep 26, 2007, 11:03:00 AM  

AA--You sound way to sensitive about this. Wilbon is right. I like your blog. I like the Big Lead, too. But it's chicken shit to hide behind anonymity when you call people out. (Yes, just like I'm doing now.) How can they respond to you? Only by email? That's not fair. Also to say you have less spin than the MSM is laughable. It's different spin, not less. Look, I think you should keep doing what you're doing. But please don't pretend to be something that you're not.

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 11:06:00 AM  

mdt-
when anyone tries to call out blogs when the get it wrong. you all get pissy and threaten them.

hollywood wags-
you are stupid, go jack off.

those are threats when they write that stuff. they can not say that about you guys or you will get pissy.

pissy is my favorite word

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 11:07:00 AM  

STOP CYBERBULLYING! if you wouldn't say it to there face don't say it online. That's called just being a man baby.

http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 11:08:00 AM  

the only sports media you call out is espn, yet fox, nbc and the others do the same thing.

example, with espn promting other networks, they should according to everybody. but the other networks don't do it for espn.

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 11:11:00 AM  

RE: rumors and running with them.

Bloggers don't give a shit what the news schedule is, what the deadline is, etc. The Post and ESPN, Wilbon's employers, EXCEEDINGLY place a high value on beating their competitors to the punch.

They need to do it for their profitability. They do it even when their wrong, and then they don't correct.

Blogs are also less beholden to the nice little corporate bullshit that helps Wilbon keep his job, and apparently, act as the king shit on the block, talking down to his underlings. We all read the transcript of that insane meeting at the ESPN corporate hive.

What about Jayson Blair? Who was his editor?

hollywood wags said...
Sep 26, 2007, 11:12:00 AM  

hollywood wags-
listen and read,he was not talking about espn but newspapers.

he called out what he does on espn and espn for the same thing.

how would you know what espn or wilbon according to your post on the big lead you don't watch.

this was about newspapers and blogs, not espn.

but of course the bias poster brought them up for no reason, just to bash.

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 11:18:00 AM  

Of course Wilbon doesn't like blogs. Blogs are pretty much competition for columnists. The big difference is that bloggers usually understand the sport they're covering.

Has anyone ever heard a columnist come out and say "Golly, I sure love Blogs. They're making me obsolete, are funnier than me, and make better and more thought out points than I do. But at least I can go and get the same quote a beat writer has access to." I haven't.

WhiteSpeedReceiver said...
Sep 26, 2007, 11:19:00 AM  

Re: Anonymous (ahem)

when anyone tries to call out blogs when the get it wrong. you all get pissy and threaten them.

I assume you're using "you" to represent "everybody who has ever written a blog ever", which is fundamentally flawed to begin with, but okay... I don't know of anybody who's made any actual terroristic or death threats in return for a blog getting it wrong.

And generally when a blog gets it wrong, it's called out by another blog or by a helpful commenter.

Can you point out any single specific instance of what you say happening (i.e. somebody getting really pissy when called out)?

And if you can, should we consider that source "credible"? Remember, there are credible blogs and less-credible blogs, as much as people who like to use the word "you" to represent "the entire internet" like to forget that.

MDT said...
Sep 26, 2007, 11:22:00 AM  

I don't really get how I'm hiding behind anything? Everyone knows my name, I've been on the radio, and would be glad to show my face if someone wanted me to. Also, if Wilbon wanted to respond to this I would give him every opportunity to do so. I also don't understand what this "spin" is you're talking about. Maybe it's the fact that I only highlight the negative, but that isn't entirely true.

As far as bashing ESPN and not others....you obviously don't read this site enough and aren't paying attention. I mentioned CBS yesterday and FOX a few days ago.

Keep the comments/opinions coming. Maybe I am a little sensitive about the subject, but just getting tired of the falsehoods associated with what I/we do.

Sep 26, 2007, 11:23:00 AM  

Anon 11:18- ESPN is Wilbon's employer....I think that's pretty relevant to the post if you ask me.

Sep 26, 2007, 11:25:00 AM  

Yes indeed, whatever happened to my case...kidding...

I agree with AA about everything he said regarded Wilbon but here is why Wilbon is scared of blogs...

they outscoop the people whose job it is to get the inside information.

Which is why a story breaks on a blog and four hours later ESPN is reporting on it

Plus ESPN is the gold standard on credibility and reporting. Steve Phillips, "Mort", Emmitt Smith, Dusty Baker, Joe Morgan,MeShawn...a ton of credible info and fact checking in that group right there. Emmitt doesn't even take the time to say players names correctly.

Sep 26, 2007, 11:27:00 AM  

I've met AA in person. He is a gentleman and a scholar.

And does anybody else appreciate the irony in people that comment here anonymously calling people out for hiding behind their internet aliases?

Alias should not indicate a failure to stand behind somebody's beliefs. It may mean a variety of things... most commonly, that they'd prefer to protect a real name for privacy concerns on the internet. It's a lot easier to get by on your real name when you're cashing in on it like a columnist does... it's what they're paid to do. But for those of us who have to hold down real jobs in an environment where your employer could be Googling you for a variety of reasons completely unrelated to your stature as a sports blogger... it's a helpful tool. If anything it promotes honesty, as some of you who only feel fit to comment anonymously surely understand.

MDT said...
Sep 26, 2007, 11:31:00 AM  

when cowherd stole from mzone, they threatened to kill his daughter and were gonna put up his address. put his wife's number, she did nothing.

bs blogs do not call out other blogs. who keeps dedspin in check, gawker.

how do you know wilbon was not talking about the noncrediable blogs.

wow you called them out three times

ask big lead to give you his email address

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 11:36:00 AM  

AA this is perhaps the best burn of anyone so far since I've been coming here. PTI is one of my favorite shows and lately Wilbon has been pissing me off. I have no problem with the difference of opinion part, it's just that he and Old Man Kornheiser seem to be losing it.

B-Sells said...
Sep 26, 2007, 11:38:00 AM  

Come on...everybody doesn't know your name. I only know that you are a 29-year old white guy. And a Libra. That doesn't really narrow it down. I checked the site (a quick check, mind you), and couldn't find a name or a telephone number. I don't need a picture. Just a quick and easy way to contact you.
As for spin, your answer is exactly what MSM reporters say, too. Nobody thinks they are being spun. But spin is everywhere, even on blogs.
Again, I don't mean to be critical. I like your blog. But Wilbon makes some really good points about how bloggers are changing sports landscape. I thought the Oklahoman story was way too harsh for a college player. How soon before high-schoolers get that kind of treatment? We already saw it with Alison Stokke, didn't we?

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 11:40:00 AM  

Here's another side of this issue if we're talking about newspapers. How many columnists have been randomly assigned to sports or teams they know nothing about? They may not even care what they are covering.

This is obviously not the case of a columnist like Wilbon, but this has to be the case for over 60-70% of those in that industry.

I think Bloggers are informed/qualified as a writer/blogger because they are fans love what I do. Why do you think I put this site together for little to no money? That's something newspapers had, but are losing pretty rapidly

Anon 11:40- Seriously, who uses the phone anymore? Everyone on here who emails me personally knows that I respond to every question/inquiry. Hell, I was on ESPN Radio two weeks ago. My name isn't hard to figure out and would be in the "About" section if I ever got around to putting it up.

As far as emailing TBL for Wilbon's addy....they've already been contacted about this.

Anon 11:36- Are you sure that was M-Zone or the site's commenters? You can't condone that behavior at all.

Sep 26, 2007, 11:46:00 AM  

it was both mzone and commentators,
if espn is held responsbile for their perople
blogs should beas well

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 11:50:00 AM  

bs blogs do not call out other blogs. who keeps dedspin in check, gawker.

Did you read the various posts analyzing who they're throwing links to (favoritism?) The one a few weeks back saying how hard it is to get a link on there? Search Deadspin itself... Will often links to meta-related articles.

The vast amount of commenters who reply when they feel there's been a line crossed also tends to keep them in line.

But you're referring to Gawker keeping them in line only. Does that mean you're only concerned with editorial standards? Do you feel they should be censored more? Do you really think that's a good idea, or consistent with the idea of freedom of speech?

Yes, I think there's a limit. I certainly don't condone psychopath commenters posting addresses, but those are commenters, not blog editors. I'm not holding AA responsible for your views. And yes, lines are crossed, but again, backlashes happen (see: KSK and the Peter King's daughter incident, which gave their credibility a serious hit... ask those consider if they'd ever consider doing something like that again.)

how do you know wilbon was not talking about the noncrediable blogs.

Because he didn't say so. And he, like you, appears to be lumping them altogether, which is part of the problem in the first place.

Come on...everybody doesn't know your name.

And what's the difference if he calls himself Awful Announcing or LeeRoy Jenkins? Everything a blog poster with a handle says is tied, irrevocably, to that handle, that blog, that sense of credibility. Same thing with Michael Wilbon. Same thing with The New York Times and The New York Post. One is certainly more credible than the other. But hundreds of people work for those papers. How many can you name?

There is accountability here. If AA starts spouting uninformed, stupid, ridiculous statements, people will stop reading him and linking to him. So what's the problem here? That he's not using the name on his passport? Or is it that people can't peg him to a real phone number or address? How many MSM people give those out? I fail to see the big issue here, maybe.

MDT said...
Sep 26, 2007, 11:55:00 AM  

Well there are some cases that get caught and some that don't. This is no different in MSM than blogs. I'm not saying M-Zone is comparable to Stern, but what about shock jocks?

I guess the point is that people consume information different ways. I'm no better than you if I never go to ESPN.com for information anymore but you do. It's just disheartening that MSMers are using "credibility" as a jumping point to knock down an emerging medium.

Do I need to bring up Ron Borges?

Sep 26, 2007, 11:55:00 AM  

ESPN pushes the limit on everything in sports. They create and contribute to the toxic stew. How did Michael Irvin get an interview with the nut that was TO? So discussing ESPN in this case is legitimate.

"he called out what he does on espn and espn for the same thing."

You might want to listen to that again. Maybe you have a special brand of ESPN selective hearing.

And I'll bash them when I want. Maybe you'd prefer if Mike Wilbon was here to prevent me from doing so.

Wilbon is saying that he has never hacked on a college athlete? Is he splitting hairs and saying that he doesn't do it in the newspaper? I can't believe that. He might regret saying this.

Mr Integrity? Wilbon? the guy who wrote a PR piece for a buddy at Ball State?

Do you work for ESPN?

hollywood wags said...
Sep 26, 2007, 11:55:00 AM  

if espn is held responsbile for their perople
blogs should beas well


ESPN moderates the shit out of their commenters and they still say ridiculous, racist, hateful, violent things every single day. I have yet to see anybody holding ESPN responsible in any way, shape, or form for the people on their messageboards.

Now, I see people holding ESPN responsible for say, the things that their Sunday Countdown people say. That's because they're paid representatives of the company and the company is giving them a public platform to speak. Without them, there is no ESPN; they can't be separated.

MDT said...
Sep 26, 2007, 11:58:00 AM  

I always thought bloggers "weren't hiding behind anonymity."

Anonymity gives bloggers the power.

The mainstream media and the sports BUSINESS would come at you with guns blazing to tear you apart, discredit you, and spread lies and misinformation about you.

I don't look at as being a coward. I don't want my life ruined because I think that the sports media is full of shit and bought and paid for.

And no, I wouldn't tell half of what I say to the person's face. I know I'd get my ass kicked or reputation unfairly destroyed by people more powerful than me (in more ways than one).

But that doesn't mean that my views should be silenced. Or that they're not worth anything because the mainstream media disagrees with them.

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 12:00:00 PM  

Does anyone see what's going on here? There are all walks of life commenting on this issue right now. I'm sure there are industry people and non-industry people, and bloggers and just regular folks.

I personally think this is a good thing. You don't have to agree with me on anything at all....I still want you to know everything that's going on.

For example, let's use CBS (since I always use ESPN). They are screwing over College Football Fans by moving games around every weekend. Who is calling them out? No one. Things like this are damaging to fans and regular consumers.

Sep 26, 2007, 12:07:00 PM  

Thank God for bloggers like AA. For years I thought I was the one with the problem because I was the only person I personally knew that had a problem (for example) with ESPN and its bullshit.

Now I know I'm not alone. And now I'm less afraid to confront the issue. And I don't have to quit my job and begin a personal crusade to do it. I know what they do is wrong. I explain how what they do is wrong. And I don't need a journalism degree or "access to insiders" to do it (even though I do have both).

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 12:12:00 PM  

hollywood wags-
i am hispanic i would not go to bristol if you paid me. i like living.

irvin was the only one who defended to.

no i don't work at brisotl read my first comment

no i don't because i heard it clearly.

dude i don't care who you bash, just keep it consistent.

deadspin and aol fanhouse keep them in check

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 12:15:00 PM  

I read a slew of blogs and MSM sources. Both for work and for entertainment.

When it comes to credibility and accuracy, I absolutely have a different filter for blogs as opposed to newspapers and major network/magazine sources. That's not a criticism. MSM folks have editors, producers and fact-checkers. They have gone to J-school and have been trained as journalists. I don't discount blogs breaking a story, but I'm wary until it has been validated.

But when it comes to commentary? Opinions? Well, all bets are off. That's simply about quality of content. And I have found over the last 3 or 4 years that blogs deliver higher quality (personal preference).

Jerry said...
Sep 26, 2007, 12:43:00 PM  

For someone who dislikes ESPN so much, you sure do a tremendous job sending people their way. This blog has a good premise, how about actually using it to increase he standard of broadcasting as opposed to complaining about a station that is easily avoidable? (Seriously, I'm still ridiculously educated on sports and haven't watched a non college football game on ESPN in, literally, years)

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 12:48:00 PM  

AA, great post. Well said.

Sep 26, 2007, 12:48:00 PM  

Looks like I'm a few hours late to the party on this one, but here are my thoughts.

In newspapers, there are good reporters and bad reporters. Credible reporters and useless reporters. Timely, relevant columnists and blowhard columnists.

The same holds true for blogs. Plenty make good points on a daily basis, and plenty take unverified pot shots, putting their own credibility at risk (which eventually costs them readership) and making a mockery of the whole thing.

Bottom line: There are a lot of lazy writers out there in old and new media, and a lot of really talented souls who deserve better. Generalizing isn't going to get anybody anywhere.

Red Sox Monster

Pity Da Fool said...
Sep 26, 2007, 1:21:00 PM  

"They have gone to J-school and have been trained as journalists."

And work as corporate ass suckers out to increase the bottom line.

Jayson Blair anybody?

hollywood wags said...
Sep 26, 2007, 1:25:00 PM  

You bring up a good point about PTI not having any accountability. The talking head format made common in Crossfire on CNN and The O'Reilly Factor is the backbone of PTI. At the same time blogs have no accountability either, but if i were to choose what to be more afraid of, it would be big media outlets using their resources to broadcast opinion than blogs.

canek said...
Sep 26, 2007, 1:41:00 PM  

Anonymous said at 12:00 "The mainstream media and the sports BUSINESS would come at you with guns blazing to tear you apart, discredit you, and spread lies and misinformation about you.
I don't look at as being a coward. I don't want my life ruined because I think that the sports media is full of shit and bought and paid for."

Don't you think this sounds a little paranoid and pathetic. Plenty of bloggers attach their names and don't have their lives ruined. Look at Will Leitch, and of the Fanhouse guys, Dan Steinberg. Allowing ESPN...or anyone else...to give you the other side of the story doesn't constitute spin and certainly doesn't mean they'll ruin your life. Sheesh.

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 2:03:00 PM  

I think there are several dynamics at work here. Obviously the MSM has a preferential relationship with the spots it covers. MSM members get access and in exchange they agree to treat thing in an honorable manner. This doesn't mean they cannot be critical, but they make honorable attempts to tell both sides of the story, or if they are giving an opinion they state it clearly. (Editoral, Columnist, etc.)

With the rise of the blogosphere and ESPN, sports have moved more into an infotainment category. Sportcenter is hardly news any longer, and in my opinion it suffers from it. It is obviously promoting the sports it has invested in and as a result I have stopped watching it.

Blogs give ordinary people a platform from which to speak. Blogs have been very effective in breaking through the journalistic wall, but that doesn't mean some journalistic standards shouldn't apply. People say that it's all a joke but the hateful reactionary speech of bloggers and commenters alike devalue the conversation.

Wilbon is right to be wary of blogs. For every quality blog there are ten blogs which seek to spread hateful misinformation. We accept his show as opinion. We don't confuse it with fact. This is clear by the construct of the format, but blogs aren't so clear. Should something be serious? Sarcastic? Ironic? What if you aren't in on the joke?

Wilbon is entertaining on PTI and his writing in the Washington Post, if you haven't read it, is top notch. I think he raises valuable points. PTI gets a lot of its material from blogs, but there are tough questions about blogging that remain unanswered.

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 2:12:00 PM  

Re: Anonymous at 2:03... tell that to Neate Sager.

http://sportsbiznews.blogspot.com/2007/06/hazards-of-sports-blogging-or-is-it.html

Granted, he appears to be the exception and not the rule (so far); but then, you haven't cited anybody who isn't being paid to do what they do and doesn't have a corporation (Gawker Media, The Washington Post, AOL/TimeWarner) backing them up.

MDT said...
Sep 26, 2007, 2:17:00 PM  

He actually didn't say that blogs are evil and ESPN/Newspapers are good. He said that the general trend towards less accountable coverage of all things has been influenced by blogs. Blogs are important. They provide feedback just like you state. But even you, a blogger, should probably admit that the level of discourse on blogs in general appeals to a lower set of standards than newspaper writing, by columnists and reporters.
PTI is an opinion show. They do not sell themselves as anything else. This is not the same as a nwespaper, which follows certain journalistic standards, one of which is quoting sources instead of quoting innuendo. You cannot paint all media with the same brush. Actually you can. You already did. But it is foolish.

omnivore43 said...
Sep 26, 2007, 3:33:00 PM  

Major corporations running blogs is just the next step in evoultion. There will remain a fringe element that is wild, unpredictable and for better or worse relentless. Otherwise the blogosphere will be acquired parceled and distributed by major players. The blog is just another form of entertainment/information distribution.

If you are an unsupported blogger, with a large enough following, somebody will approach you. If you aren't financially set it's really tough to turn down that Faustian bargain.

A place like Deadspin maintains some kind of edge because that is the philosophy of Gawker inc, but as you pointed out they rely on ad revenues so they can't be too edgy.

The ultimate question is what is the purpose of the blogosphere? To entertain? Inform? As a release? The answer is probably all of the above, but with the caveat that blogs need to conform to an identity. As other commenters have said, credibility is hard to gain and easy to lose. If certain blogs have the desire to be taken seriously, then they need to conform to more rigorous standards, more journalistic standards.

The flaw in this topic, and Wilbon's comments is that the entire blogosphere cannot be taken as a single entity. The extreme of anything cannot represent the whole.

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 3:34:00 PM  

The best part is when he says stuff on blogs "just goes out there as gospel." Yep, I know when I read some commentary on a personal website, usually written by somebody with a made up name, I take it as utter gospel truth.

It seems he doesn't think readers have the ability to know when they're reading factual reporting and when they're reading something else.

Pacifist Viking said...
Sep 26, 2007, 3:41:00 PM  

you know what's funny?

I sent an email to AA about the Tirico show yestreday and I didn't give two thoughts about the blog question.

I have heard Wilbon say similar things about blogs in the past. He's old school and doesn't mesh with the new media paradigm.

Of course, he accepts it better than TK (and I say this as the person who did the first TK blog like 5 years ago).

odessasteps said...
Sep 26, 2007, 3:47:00 PM  

I think anon 2:03 hits the nail on the head. There have been mentions of Jayson Blair and mentions of some of the bigger blogs -- but I don't think it is fair to compare the two or allow these examples to be representative of the whole. Certainly Will Leitch, Dan Steinberg, Henry Abbot and all have traditional journalism backgrounds.

J-school can't give you credibility, but it gives you a start. A start that goes on to include years of experience doing grunt work, covering high school basketball games, learning the editing process from both sides, getting your story and making contacts, all while jumping (or not) to bigger markets along the way.

Blogs don't have that built in, and as such don't get the access. But as we found with ESPN, too much access means pulling punches, something bloggers might have no problem with. How many times have you seen a post on a blog breaking a big story only to see it redacted later? Blogging has the problems of the 24 hour news cycle and then some.

So at the end of the day, Wilbon is probably right to be wary of blogs. His journalistic intuition should make him wary of everything, and that's something he might not always be seen doing. I think blogs enhance the spectrum of reporting, but should be taken as something to supplement, not take over.

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 4:45:00 PM  

It's kind of a dumb, simple statement on his part... but I don't think it's worth getting so worked up or defensive about. Really.

If he wants to piss on blogs, fine, let him. A passing comment by one Michael Wilbon doesn't de-legitimize the work "bloggers" are doing, or the impact they have. That's my take, at least.

Brian said...
Sep 26, 2007, 5:13:00 PM  

i promise i'm not trying to nitpick here AA, but... i'm not white. am i allowed to blog?

quiet cardinal said...
Sep 26, 2007, 5:41:00 PM  

That was the one error, I thought: "white men with computers..." What does that have to do with anything and what rhetorical point does it make? The thing about blogs is anyone can blog, and they may be any race under the sun.

Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2007, 6:05:00 PM  

QC and Anon...

It was a joke in reference to the fact that bloggers are all considered white, unemployed males who sit in their underwear while in their parent's basements. Sorry if that was lost in translation. Sarcasm folks.

Sep 26, 2007, 7:23:00 PM  

I'll take it out if it distracts from the original point. Thanks also for weighing-in not matter what side you take/took.

For those of you that aren't necessarily familiar with the site....stick around. I think you'll have fun. And no I don't just bash ESPN all day long.

Sep 26, 2007, 7:29:00 PM  

I hate to say it, but human nature is what it is. If bloggers gain access, we'll become afraid of losing access, and we'll slowly but surely start turning into the MSM. If you want to be critical, stay outside the door, because it gets a lot harder to do it when you're looking the guy in the face.

extrapolater said...
Sep 27, 2007, 12:18:00 PM  

You don't teach journalism - you big fat liar.

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