/ Blogger, reporter, what’s the difference?

Not too long ago Jeff Gannon (a.k.a. James Guckert) walked into the White House Press Room and asked the President a question. The thing is, he wasn’t so much a reporter as he was a blogger. Then there was the media gag order on the Gomery Inquiry by a Canadian judge, but an American Blogger posted the “forbidden” information on his blog anyway. That’s when the media got into a hissy trying to defend their territory. They said that bloggers weren’t reporters, that reporters were more credible, more reputable, more reliable, that they checked their facts, they researched etc…

Then NBC accidentally revealed the identity of an Iraqi judge, 60 Minutes screwed up a report on George W. Bush’s military record, and in a moment of sheer brilliance, the media as though of one mind—nay, one brain cell—went ahead without proper sourcing and announced that 12 of the 13 missing miners in West Virginia were alive, when really the opposite was true.

So where does that leave us? Is the media reliable? Or are the recent ruptures in their facade a sign that maybe all is not Kosher with their supposed “objective” and “reliable” reporting. As anyone who’s watched more than one news broadcast will tell you, the news media has a morbid fixation on reporting tradgedy.

If it bleeds, it leads.

That taints the objectivity of their reporting and skews the balance toward the abnormally negative. What’s more, in light of their recent missteps, the news media can hardly keep touting their “credibility” and “reliability”. If anything, they need to start working hard to regain the public’s trust.

Enter the blogger. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds, one of which is CNET News.com‘s. What I’ve noticed is that CNET consistently produces posts whereas non-professional bloggers don’t. There are times when posting drops—such as on weekends—but not for CNET. Why? Because they’re professional reporters. They’re paid to report, so they’ve got to generate something. Which isn’t altogether bad, except for the pressure that they’re under to report on something, anything. Bloggers on the other hand will report on what interests them, be it tragic or cheerful because bloggers lack that institutional obsession with the calamitous.

Which is why I tend to lend more credibility to the blogger than the reporter. Because they don’t have an agenda. At least not collectively.


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