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Friday, July 15, 2005

MSM ON BLOGS: THEY GET IT WRONG — AGAIN! 

DOG POOP GIRL: IS THE MSM MISREPRESENTING THE ROLE OF THE BLOGS ON PURPOSE?

The Washington Post published an article entitled "Subway Fracas Escalates Into Test Of the Internet's Power to Shame" last week and, with the characteristic arrogant moralizing of the MSM, posited that the story of the Dog Shit Girl (known as the Dog Poop Girl in the WAPO) somehow signaled the dangers of the growing power of blogs. We bloggers should be cautious, lest we abuse our powers, the MSM — in its infinite wisdom — seems to say. I saw the story in the Los Angeles Times this morning with an even more arrogant and judgmental headline: "But that’s Big Brother's Job."

It is an interesting story. In summary, a woman in South Korea took her dog on the subway and the doggie made a poopie. She made no effort to clean it up, other commuters got peeved and confronted her, and she got pissy with them. Somebody took her picture with a cellphone camera and, within days, her picture was all over the Internet, her name was known, and she acquired the charming nickname Dog Shit Girl.

The article moralized about whether bloggers went too far in shaming this girl. (Allegedly, she dropped out of college because of the notoriety.) And then the MSM reporter definitely drops all pretense at objectivity and starts the condescension:

"Increasingly, the Internet also is a venue of so-called citizen journalism, in which swarms of surfers mobilize to gather information on what the traditional media isn't covering, or is covering in a way that dissatisfies some people."

Did you catch that? Of course you did! Citizen journalism is referred to as "so-called citizen journalism."

Is that objective? Is it really the objective reporter's job to reveal his disdain (and, in this case, defensive jealously) with the phrase "so-called"? I wonder why we don't hear the use of "so-called" as a derisive adjective a little more often in the MSM. How about "so-called" Culture of Life”? "So-called War on Terror"? "So-called family values"? "So-called activist judges"? "So-called Christian fundamentalists"? "So-called President Bush"?

Not to mention "so-called liberal media" and "so-called Fox News"?

And also notice the dig at "some people" who are dissatisfied at the way "traditional media" is covering some issues. A little defensive, are we? (And go here to see where the reporter got the story.)

A little further on, the reporter needs another example to show the negative effects of the blogs. Does he pick on any of a number of conservative blog disinformation campaigns? No, he mentions how mean we were to Jeff Gannon:

"It was the clarion call of one well-known blogger, for example, that led to answers about the dubious press credentials of Jeff Gannon, who attended White House news conferences and asked questions that favored President Bush and attacked Democrats.

But the mob went further, reporting and speculating on aspects of Gannon's private life."


And that’s all it says about Gannon. Not a whiff of a suggestion that his "private life" included numerous homosexual-themed Web sites. (Not an important detail when you're trying to smear the "liberal" blogs that are scooping you at every turn.)

Big Brother? Exposing a White House hack who had dubious press credentials is an example of Big Brother-like behavior? A single case of overzealous anti-dogshit activists exposing an inconsiderate dog owner is Big Brother?

Have these people ever heard of the PATRIOT ACT?

And I’m also trying to figure out what Dog Shit Girl has to do with "citizen journalism." I can only wonder at the motives of this writer.

For a little more information on Dog Shit Girl, read "KOREA: Internet drops woman in poo" at Asia Pacific Media Network.

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