Thursday, July 13, 2006

Are you a leech?

For a seemingly self-indulgent behaviour such as blogging, the epitome would likely be for a blogger to attempt to justify the behaviour itself. So please indulge me while I do just that.

Malcolm Gladwell
thinks bloggers are 'parasites'. He lectured recently at the New York Library, and defended the old media in the following way:


While former Time Inc. editor in chief Norman Pearlstine and Slate founder Michael Kinsley predicted doom and gloom for newspapers in the Internet age, Gladwell sang the praises of paper products and derided bloggers as "parasites" who feed on newspapers to survive. If newspapers die, "What are they [the bloggers] going to do? Get jobs?" Gladwell mocked.


(New York Daily News, towards the end of the article). H/T to Blogebrity.



Is that true? Are bloggers nothing more than news-sucking slugs living off the avails of all the hard work done by MSM?

Well, in our defence, we're cheaper, faster and occasionally more innovative.

When I think back to the media ban about the Gomery proceedings, it was actually a U.S. blog that scooped the MSM for information. Some newspapers even made cloaked references to the blog by mentioning phrases such as 'where Captain Kirk might go if he wanted to rest', and so on. That was the only way they could direct readers to information - they had to leech off the blog.

I actually see blogging and MSM as partners in a symbiotic relationship. We can complement each other, and that is certainly the case lately, with the Toronto Sun having a daily "Best of the Blogs" feature, and even the Globe and Mail noting the importance of some Liberal bloggers as they scored interviews with various leadership candidates.

Some high-profile bloggers, such as Steve Janke and Stephen Taylor even do their own investigative journalism and interviews on a continuing basis. They have working relationships with various sources including MSM reporters.

There is no doubt that many bloggers, including yours truly, rely heavily on news items and editorials from various types of media.

However, as I commented recently at Chucker Canuk's, the real benefit to society is that we're not driving our friends and family crazy with our constant rants! We have a safe outlet that is saving the public health care system a pile of dough!!!

24 comments:

liberal supporter said...

Sounds like the "myspace" controversies. Used to be just "the internet" in general.

Watch the TV news and you will learn what a dangerouos place the internet is. "Just park your kids in front of the TV instead, they'll be safe with us. It takes so much work to street proof your kid for the internet, and maybe you won't do it right. Just leave it all to us. And watch the commercials and buy the products please..."

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Ha! That's an interesting perspective!

And what ever happened to parents interacting with their kids?

TrustOnlyMulder said...

That really is an intereting perspective. The TV has been warning ALOT about stalkers recently and firing salvos at Myspace steadily for a month now. And the blogosphere has been railing against the MSM for a year.

What I love is my two monitor setup with a TV tuner card and online radio. I watch TV and/or listen to talk radio while I surf almost every evening.

Digital TV tries to offer music but they won't offer me games, chat, blogging, etc. so they are just an accessory to the PC in my mind.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Things were so easy when my kids were small. I just kept an eye on them when they were outside playing with their friends. Ah, the good old days when kids could go outside to play.

PGP said...

Leech.....Naw!

The MSM have a JOB to do!
Bloggers are usefull at finding out who is Faking it!

If you want to go down the path of describing anyone as a leech then aren't the MSM guys just living off the sweat of the REAL movers and shakers? Not to mention your everday Joes!

PGP said...

I did some checking on Gladwell's work..(beyond the Wikpedia pap).

He seems to have come by his talent for making connections between disparate things quite honestly.

On the surface his ideas are thought provoking for sure BUT even a cursory read through the material shows a lack of depth. It seems that his best talent is in making observations and controversial proclaimations.
To be sure...he was speaking to the crowd at the event quoted from.But judging by the reaction....he got what he was looking for!

Does that make him a parasite?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

PGP - Wow! Very astute observations! lol!

The MSM have a JOB to do!
Bloggers are usefull at finding out who is Faking it!


Now there's something else that I could have added to my little rant. We bloggers are very good indeed in holding MSM accountible. That may actually be one of our primary functions, now that I think about it. (Quiet, JDave. I already know what you're going to say!).

On the surface his ideas are thought provoking for sure BUT even a cursory read through the material shows a lack of depth.

Again, very perceptive. I've only read one of his books, Blink, which makes some valuable points about the importance of first impressions, but people should be encouraged to do more critical thinking beyond that. (I said be quiet, Jdave! I know what you'll say to that one too. So just forget about it.)

Brian Lemon said...

Gladwell is a famous (Torontonian) nimrod. Next original idea will be his first...

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Next original idea will be his first... Ha! That's funny.

BTW, the ironic thing is that he has his own blog!!!

Red Tory said...

The World According to Sweater Guy: It seems that his best talent is in making observations and controversial proclaimations.

It is to laugh...

Anonymous said...

joanne, bloggers do nothing but make observations and controversial proclamations. without the MSM, there are no bloggers. please, get a grip.

Mac said...

Et tu, Red Tory?

Sara said...

hey you forgot I made it in the Globe and Mail with Margarete Wente.... not to boast myself lol


I don't do articles, I do my own opinion. My blog is like a diary of my rants.. sheesh with all the degrees these idiots have you'd think they could tell the diff

Steph said...

Ah, on behalf of your family, we definitely don't mind your constant rants! They're always insightful.

Anonymous said...

«The World According to Sweater Guy: It seems that his best talent is in making observations and controversial proclaimations.

It is to laugh...»

And Red Tory? The Man in Search of an Identity, judging by the number of pictures he's changed to represent his "Persona."

No, I don't know PGP and he doesn't need me to rise to his defense - I just find supercilious fools like Red Tory, who delight in putting others down, very irksome.

«It is much easier to be critical than to be correct." Disraeli

SUZANNE said...

Bloggers "earn" their respect by their analyses. As far as newsgathering is concerned, most bloggers do use most of what comes from the MSM. However, the analysis they provide can be invaluable. They can provide a different perspective. I appreciate that. In a country with a constant lib-left line, I think they're very necessary.

I also think bloggers are good for spreading stories that would otherwise be buried. Almost no MSM wrote about the introduction of Paul Steckle's late-term abortion bill, and they did so only after it was talked up in the blogosphere. For some days, a person had two places to learn about this bill, Lifesite, and my blog. It's something of a point of pride for me.

I've also blogged stories that no other MSM has touched, although they haven't been big stories. Blogs are good sources of information for those niches that are very dedicated to a subject, and just can't rely on the MSM to give them what they want.

For all those reasons, blogs are a useful adjunct to the MSM.

Peter Rempel said...

If newspapers die, "What are they [the bloggers] going to do? Get jobs?" Gladwell mocked.

Perhaps if newspapers die, bloggers will start getting paid to fill the vacuum left in their absence.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Anon: "bloggers do nothing but make observations and controversial proclamations. without the MSM, there are no bloggers. please, get a grip."

-Your disdain for bloggers makes me wonder why you taint yourself by reading them? Or are you possibly a spy from MSM??? lol!

Sara: Congrats about the Globe! I'll have to check it out. Good point about the guys with the degrees. I think they're worried.

Steph: Thanks so much for your continued support! It means so much. :)

Anon #2: I just find supercilious fools like Red Tory, who delight in putting others down, very irksome. I second the motion. Can't wait for Red to respond to this one! He does have an awesome vocabulary though.

However, I think it is preferable to communicate with the goal of being understood by the other party, rather than simply trying to impress them (as they scramble for their dictionary to interpret the message).

Suzanne: All excellent points; especially the one about MSM being largely liberally-biased. The latest acquisition of Chum by Bellglobe Media is of serious concern in that regard.

You have an excellent blog, Suzanne, and are tackling abortion issues to a depth that I would have neither the courage nor the expertise to do.

One major requirement to having a good blog is that you have passion, and Suzanne, you and Sara have that in spades. It sustains you through the rough times.

Peter Rempel: Perhaps if newspapers die, bloggers will start getting paid to fill the vacuum left in their absence.

Oh, that's good! I love it! Ha. That's probably what they're worried about the most! And with people like Steve Janke, Stephen Taylor and Kate from sda out there, we would have some excellent reporters and pundits to fill in the void.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I had a brain cramp there a short time ago about Sara getting recognition from Margaret Wente in the Globe.

It was in the article, "See Mommy Run", Published Saturday, May 6, 2006.

"...The mommy bloggers were not amused. "Should we just hand over our kids
now?" asked stay-at-home mom Sara, who identifies herself as one of
those "non-working dependents." She added that beer and popcorn make her
burp..."

Sara, not only are you getting recognition from MSM, but you are also one of those bloggers who actually does something rather than just complain. Kudos to you!

Sara said...

kudos lol,,

I'm a mom that bitches online, how important is that!

Jason Bo Green said...

I'm very surprised and disappointed. Malcolm Gladwell's kind of dinky dink, but he's very smart and very probing. Many bloggers are dorks, sure - but for this guy to make this lame a statement is surprising, and poorly thought out.

Anyway Joanne, even if Gladwell doesn't like your blog, you'll always have Chucker and Springer - and let's face it, who would you really rather have? ;)

Jason Bo Green said...

Whoa, Malcolm Gladwell is a Torontonian?

No wonder he's such a dink...

Joanne (True Blue) said...

how important is that!

Sara, don't sell yourself short! It is absolutely crucial that plain folks like you and I get involved in the public forum in any way we can. Otherwise things won't change.

Jason Bo Green: "even if Gladwell doesn't like your blog, you'll always have Chucker and Springer - and let's face it, who would you really rather have?

lol! Those two are awesome! And Chucker, well he's in a league all of his own. Totally unique. We share an unwavering admiration for Stephen Harper, but he has a gift for writing and imagination that far surpasses anything I could put together.

Anyway, thanks for the kind comments, Jason.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

BTW, I just want to make it abundantly clear here that Chucker's position on social issues differ sharply from mine - almost 180 degrees apart; yet we can still get along. Who knew?