Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
This Is Funny ....
.... and instructive.

Time magazine has jumped into the blogging fray by starting a blog called "Swampland". Several journalists are blogging there and immediately got into a bunch of deep yogurt with readers, much of it self-inflicted by doing the usual not-fact-checking-before-I-write trick. It's been funny watching these professionals reactions to actually being called on their crap.

Anyway, as an experienced blogger who entertains comments on his site, Atrios has a few suggestions for these novices:
Journalists make a lot of mistakes when they start writing for a blog type thing which allows for comments (thus making them aware of their mistakes). First, don't talk down to your readers. Many of them are probably smarter than you, and literally all of them certainly know some things you don't. Second, blogging isn't just about throwing random thoughts out there without bothering to check them first. Sure, it's a bit more shoot from the hip than careful writing is, but the internets have this thing called "the google" that makes basic factchecking fairly simple. Third, don't have contempt for the readers who care enough to read what you write and respond. In case you didn't realize, these are the people who actually give a shit enough about current events to maybe occasionally buy a newspaper or magazine, or at the very least click through your website and watch news on the teevee. In other words, they pay the bills. Being actively hostile to them is certainly odd behavior. And, yes, discourse on the internet can be rude and caustic, some people may make you cry by telling you to go Cheney yourself, and you certainly don't have to engage people who are rude, but really who cares? People are mean, wah.

There is one final deep injustice. Even though it's "just a blog," people may hold "Time's Washington bureau chief" to a slightly higher standard than they do "some random person with a blog." The reasons for this should be obvious.
You can go back and read the details of the fray if you like, but I can tell you that Jay Carney basically made a fool of himself.