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Is the LA Times Link Baiting Bloggers?


Four days ago the LA Times ran this Op-Ed stating blogging was not journalism. Am I the only one who noticed there was no byline for this?

The article received several links from the Blogosphere and Robert Niles from Annenberg’s online journalism review. Most were unfavorable.

The Los Angeles Times this morning insulted its readers in a stunning editorial that compared Google with Osama bin Laden and showed why Times editors simply do not understand the medium that is growing to dominate the news publishing industry.

I let that one go. Now yesterday the Times runs another piece by Michael Skube subtly titled:

Blogs: All the noise that fits

The hard-line opinions on weblogs are no substitute for the patient fact-finding of reporters.

The late Christopher Lasch once wrote that public affairs generally and journalism in particular suffered not from too little information but from entirely too much. What was needed, he argued, was robust debate. Lasch, a historian by training but a cultural critic by inclination, was writing in 1990, when the Internet was not yet a part of everyday life and bloggers did not exist.

It continues:

But they are, more often than not, trademarks of the kind of journalism that makes a difference. And if there is anything bloggers want more than an audience, it’s knowing they are making a difference in politics. They are, to give them their due, changing what is euphemistically called the national “conversation.” But what is the nature of that change? Does it deepen our understanding? Does it broaden our perspective?

It’s hard to answer yes to such questions, if only because they presuppose a curiosity and inquiry for which raw opinion is ill-suited.

“What democracy requires,” Lasch wrote in “The Lost Art of Argument,” “is vigorous public debate, not information. Of course, it needs information too, but the kind of information it needs can only be generated by debate. We do not know what we need until we ask the right questions, and we can identify the right questions only by subjecting our own ideas about the world to the test of public controversy.”

There was something appealing about this argument — one that no blogger would reject — when Lasch advanced it almost two decades ago. But now we have the opportunity to witness it in practice, thanks to the blogosphere, and the results are less than satisfying. One gets the uneasy sense that the blogosphere is a potpourri of opinion and little more. The opinions are occasionally informed, often tiresomely cranky and never in doubt. Skepticism, restraint, a willingness to suspect judgment and to put oneself in the background — these would not seem to be a blogger’s trademarks.

I should point out Skube does give bloggers some credit for breaking the Walter Reed story but quickly points out it took “real journalists” to get the full story.

So the question is; is the LA Times a newspaper that is bleeding readership really this stupid?

When you have Ace of Spades (likely the funniest blogger there is on the right)

But this entire article is fundamentally dishonest. Few bloggers claim to be able to do the sort of reporting that a newspaper of hundreds, each salaried and only expected to contribute a piece or two a week, can manage. We can”t compete on that ground, and we don’t claim to.

What we do is point out mistakes the media makes. Mistakes and deliberate omissions and flat-out dishonestly. And we question the judgment by which the MSM purports to assign stories news-value and by that assignment of priority instruct us upon what the relative value of a story might be.

and Jay Rosen (NYU journalism professor and regular at the lefts juggernaut Daily Kos)

About that Sunday op ed, Blogs: All the noise that fits by Michael Skube in the Los Angeles Times….

Retire, man. I’m serious. You’re an embarrassment to my profession, to the university where you teach, and to the craft of reporting you claim to defend. You were pulling these tricks two years ago, and the fact that the LA Times let you do it again reflects poorly on them. Ring this guy up and ask him to go bass fishing or something. You’re not doing anyone any good– you’re just insulting your own bio. And when you’re done lecturing all of us on “the patient fact-finding of reporters,” tell the godforsaken LA Times they’re going to have to run a correction. The Post hasn’t won a Pulitzer for its reporting on Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Jeez.

giving it to you with both barrels you either have to have idiots in charge or maybe just maybe they are crazy like a fox and are link baiting bloggers who have more readers than they do….

nah they really are that stupid.

JunkYardBlog provides some historical context.


  • Matt Knowles

    Absolutely horrid color choice, reading soft blue type on a white background… had to stop.

  • John Richardson

    Gotta laugh when I read that Skube taught at Elon. While they have greatly improved in the last 20 years, we used to joke “if you can’t go to college, go to Elon”.

  • fox3

    Has anyone found one of these fact checkers or editors that are competent to report (NOT comment) on what they publish?

    From my reading of the LSM (what little I do anymore) it seems the only thing they have a corner on the market on is agenda (transparent) and dishonesty.

    They have become the enemy within, the real journalist of yesteryear must have hit warp 10 spinning in their graves at this point.

  • M. Simon

    Walter Duranty will always be with us.

    With blogs we can check on good old Walter.

  • rarango

    Skube for President: he’s clearly a uniter (Kos and Ace of spades!) What a weenie.

  • Dan

    Guess I was right to let my subscription lapse. I get more (and better) LA news from the web anyway.

  • John Dalton

    It seems journalists, in arguing the value of newspapers over blogs, miss an essential point. Blogs are not replacing reporting; they are replacing editors. Every newspaper article of interest is now subject to, pick a number, a 100,000? a million editors?. Some of these are able to provide valuable quality assurance to the process by spotting and correcting errors, omissions and biases.

  • Drew

    Half the stuff in the LAT is just pure BS.

    The other half isn’t that good.

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