Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

December 9, 2004

by J

Another on Blogging and Speech

Kevin Drum is also talking about the latest SCLM broadside against those evil weblogs. One of his commenters makes a good point, worth reproducing:
This is just one more article in the increasingly mystifying stream of articles in the mainstream press that suggest blogging is some sort of incomprehensible, boundary-transgressing, wild and crazy new world. I really don't get it. Blogging is just one means of publishing the written word. Exactly how is it different in principle, from a legal or regulatory point of view, from newspaper publishing or magazine publishing or book publishing?

All the usual rules apply. If you are truly guilty under our law of slandering someone, or commiting libel, it doesn't matter whether you did it it in a blog or in newsprint. If you *don't* slander someone or libel them, it is the same thing.

What is the great difference between reading Atrios' well-informed but clearly partisan and opinionated online essays and comments, and reading a printed book full of Gore Vidal's well-informed, but clearly partisan and opinionated essays? Where is the brave new world here?

Print journalists seem to have some sort of resentment about blogs. Blogging is more fun and you can get away with more. But the only reason bloggers can get away with more is because they don't have editors whose job it is to fastidiously guard their publication's accuracy and reliability. And one reason the blogs don't have those scrupulous editors is that most bloggers don't care a lot about making money from their blogging! It's a hobby for them, or at best a sideline.

[...]If bloggers posted a motto similar to the NY Times motto, it would usually be something like this: "A small bit of news that's fit to post; some news that problably isn't; some stuff I think is news but may not be; some of my opinions on and analysis of the news or what I think is the news; some occasional rantings and ravings; some stuff about me personally; a few jokes; some profanities - take it or leave it."

Finally it is perfectly possible for a blogger to be a shameless and secret shill for a candidate or advocacy group. But the same is the case in traditional publishing.
Power, even in the form of micro-power - like speech - in the hands of the people clearly scares the establishment (both Republicans and Democrats). We can only hope that our court system hasn't been so infiltrated with anti-American extremist ideologues who hate the Constitution that the foundational principle of freedom of speech, especially political speech, will persevere.
Posted by J at December 9, 2004 07:18 AM

Recommended Reading:

The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir
The Politics of Truth... A Diplomat's Memoir

Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush

Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

LIES by Al Franken
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

The Great Unraveling
The Great Unraveling

The Great Big Book of Tomorrow
The Great Big Book of Tomorrow

Clinton Wars
The Clinton Wars

Blinded by the Right
Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative

Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat

Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture

Living History

The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

John Adams

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace

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