Media Takes a Pass on the Convention

Doug Marlette on the convention bloggers.

After reading Charles Cooper shred the convention bloggers as hayseeds and "cybertourists," I'm officially revoking his credentials to be a self-proclaimed fan of weblogging.

Cooper demonstrates in his piece that he doesn't understand the medium he calls "one of the most exciting developments of the last five years."

In a CNET commentary that doesn't link to a single subject he's talking about -- can't risk losing those eyeballs -- Cooper defines the success of webloggers by what the pro media thinks of them:

Whatever the reason, few came to town with their "A" game. And that's a shame, because I'm sure many from the world of mainstream media left town thinking they had little to worry about if this is the best the blogging world can produce.

Reaching back to 1976 to establish his own pro journalism bonafides, Cooper reminds us all that his colleagues are not only difficult to please, but also hard-working, underappreciated, fast, talented, and did I mention hard-working?

... with the pressure on to work under the constraints mainstream hacks have to contend with on a daily basis -- get the story, get it right in all its complexity, and oh, by the way, get it 10 minutes ago -- they were found wanting.

Anyone who thinks that weblogs should be measured by whether they impress the professional media has jumped the cluetrack and gone skittering into the clueravine.

Collectively, weblogs represent a mass consumer revolt against the giant electronic media and the bottom-line fixated, risk-averse, synergy-loving infotainment cesspool that it has become.

This week, the major networks abandoned their FCC-required obligation to serve the public interest by skipping convention coverage in favor of tripe like Extreme Makeover, decided ahead of time that events like Barack Obama's stirring keynote speech wouldn't be newsworthy, and cut away frequently from the few moments they did cover to promote their own talking heads.

In the times I ventured from C-Span to the cable news channels, I found them more interested in the latest pregnant wife tragedy porn than in the events in Boston:

Fox News yesterday -- and it wasn't alone -- seemed unwilling or unable to let go of the Lori Hacking police story. Even with the Democratic National Convention gearing up, Fox, more than any other cable news organization, kept tracking such breaking info as the various mattress purchases by Hacking's husband, a suspect in his pregnant wife's disappearance.

MSNBC was guilty here, too. It labeled each of its updates "Looking for Lori," as though staking claim to the title of the inevitable telemovie.

A search of the weblog search engine Feedster demonstrates the glaring difference in news judgment between the professional arbiters of current events and the horde of blogging amateurs:

Barack Obama on Feedster: 3,557 hits
Lori Hacking on Feedster: 229 hits

The time to be concerned about webloggers isn't when they fail to match the standards of the electronic media, but when they succeed.

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