Monday, January 09, 2006

Bloggers, the MSM and Objective Truth

Last week, Franklin Foer wrote an editorial in The New Republic criticizing liberal bloggers for attacking the mainstream media. Foer’s basic point was that the MSM does a generally superb job and for liberals to pretend that they don’t is to play right into the hands of conservatives.

Foer sees the MSM as the protector of objective truth. Conservatives, he contends, work to tear down the MSM because objective truth is often counter to the subjective truths conservatives use to advance their causes. If liberals also choose to delegitimize the MSM, we’d be left with a battle of subjective truths—a battle for which Foer thinks conservatives are far better equipped and much more likely to win.

Unless I misunderstood Foer’s argument, he’s basically say that the truth is on the side of liberals. It’s not a liberal bias, it’s a truth bias. Bah. The truth doesn’t take sides and it’s no more on the side of liberals than it is on the side of conservatives. If liberal bloggers want to spend their time seeking out and ridiculing conservative media bias, that’s not such a poor service. Nor is it a poor service when conservatives point out liberal media bias.

For my part, I greatly appreciate the mainstream media. There are precious few bloggers who ever do their own reporting. Blogs, for the most part, are supplemental commentary. The best are adept at shining new light on current events and debates. The worst are just noise. But blogs are no substitute for our nation’s major news outlets.

Reporters and editors in the MSM would do well not to get uppity every time a blogger calls them out for a very real bias. But bloggers have little business feeling superior.


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