Blogger credibility?

A pretty good story by Taylor Bright in the Charlotte Observer raises a fair question about the credibility of bloggers:

The day after John McCain announced this month that his top two campaign men were leaving, an S.C. political blog, The Shot, ran the headline, "McCain Going Down, Top Staffers Jumping Ship."

Next to the headline was a picture of an orange life preserver.

The combination of news and analysis with a hint of wit wouldn't be remarkable -- that's what blogs have thrived on -- if the blog weren't run by members of a firm employed by the Mitt Romney campaign.

What used to be the exclusive territory of enthusiastic amateurs has been invaded by political professionals. Some of the most popular political blogs in South Carolina, a crucial state for the primary elections, are run by consultants who are working with the presidential campaigns of 2008.

I'll admit they raise a good point here. Much of what goes on here is presented by those who are not impartial, but in most cases, our readers are smart enough to know to take what they see on the web with a grain of salt.

The people behind these sites do take sides, after all, it's how a lot of them pay their bills. Sometimes, these loyalties may bias what they present, but the more credible ones don't entirely exclude other points of view, block discussion, or make false or misleading attacks from their sites. But it's not like many of these sites proclaim themselves as fair and impartial, and I think most readers are smart enough to know this.

As to concerns about the involvement of those who are involved in political campaigns ... well, I can't think of a time when political discussion online was ever the province of those who were totally neutral. But by having their insights and "inside information", readers can often learn more than they otherwise would have, especially when going to several sources to "balance" what they see on any given site.

Sure, this inside knowledge has helped to strip some of the influence of traditional media political reporters, who once were the sole outlets of political information. With information leaking out and being discussed from people who work in the field, the general public no longer has to rely on a small circle of a half-dozen reporters to tell us what they think we need to know.

Now, we can find out directly, and if one site doesn't tell us, or explain it in a clear enough manner, we can go elsewhere. Democracy thrives in an enviroment of greater openness and competition.

So long as we don't claim false neutrality, make false or personal attacks, or stifle discussions we don't agree with, I believe those of us who take part in South Carolina's online political culture play an important role in making the process of government and politics more open and inclusive, not less.

For the most part, that's what we're doing, and those doors to the shady backrooms are being opened more than ever. Those of us who want a South Carolina that is run by "we the people", and not the good ol' boys, see this as a good thing - and it is.

So ... what do the rest of you think?

10 Response to "Blogger credibility?"

  1. Anonymous 25/7/07 08:41
    I don't believe a word you're saying ;)
  2. JET 25/7/07 10:21
    Always consider your source. I love how mainstream media promotes the 'credibility' of blogs when they too have editors and a mortgage.
  3. west_rhino 25/7/07 13:52
    MSM has little trouble plagarizing blogs without credit as scoops, while dissing and impeding bloggers access to events to which they've been invited on the pretext of not being credentialled.

    MSM credibility is a bigger issue, when they have obdurately been editorailizing under teh pretext of presenting news. BBC has been taking heat for this most recently and IMHO would do well to go back to having news-readers presenting the news. Take that as an analogue to a Weather Channel personality, whose degree is in Eastern Religions (NOT meterology), that demanded that we should essentially ostracize anyone that questioned the validity of golbal warming.

    Bloggers are the samisdat press of the internet and the truth is out there.
  4. Portage county wisconsin moye 25/7/07 19:11
    As long as we the people is me then I am ok with it.
  5. fife 25/7/07 20:29
    straight up blog, keep at it...yer a fair and balanced blogger...keep the msm and pc honest
  6. Brian McCarty 25/7/07 23:06
    I will add this. I think McCain is toast in the Presidential race, and I am no payroll.


    Voting under the Influence
  7. Anonymous 26/7/07 00:08
    McCain is probably toast and I am not on the payroll either, but given the way The Shot conducts themselves I will vote for Hillary or Obama if Mitt is the GOP nomination. How is that for backlash?

    Mitt hires shit!
  8. Anonymous 26/7/07 09:28
    is there anyone who believes mccain still has a chance anymore?
  9. west_rhino 26/7/07 11:15
    re:McCain remaining questions

    butter him or serve dry and jelly or marmalade
  10. Minneapolis Moye 26/7/07 21:26
    WR is that wheat toast or white

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