Looking down one’s nose at the blogosphere

On Monday, Brian at MGoBlog reported that Lloyd Carr had decided to retire as the head coach at Michigan and that his decision would be announced in the near future.

Here’s the reaction – not as much to the news itself as to the vehicle which delivered it – from the New York Times’ college football blog, The Quad:

A Michigan blog cites three unnamed sources saying, “Carr has made his decision to retire official and people around the athletic department are being told. The formal announcement will come after the Ohio State game, possibly at the Monday press conference, possibly a day or two later.”

Let’s just say that MGoBlog is not exactly a rock of journalistic credibility, as their site features a picture of a guy holding a “Jesus hates Wisconsin” sign and a cartoon snake bludgeoning a Badger…

But not to worry. The Quad reassures its readers by noting that

… there is certainly a buzz. The far-more-reliable Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune writes that two industry sources believe this is Carr’s final year at Michigan.

Whew, that’s a relief! We can’t have those uppity minded bloggers with pictures on their sites scooping the “far-more-reliable” big media.

Of course that assertion would be far more credible if there were any, like… um, proof that it’s true. You would think that “journalistic credibility” would require something more than a bare assed statement – even from the NYT.

By the way, here’s what Brian has to say about his credibility:

… At MGoBlog, things are different. It is a blog. I am a guy. I float on the internet. So for it to be credible at all it has to be right all the time. And I have to do this largely without ever meeting or talking to the people who provide information. So there are some requirements. Everything I post has to be multiply sourced if the tipster hasn’t established a track record. I try to lay out the situation in as much detail as I can, giving a timeline of events and stating what I think and why. (Unfortunately, in this situation all sources have requested no details be relayed.) I am very serious about getting things right. I have to be. It is my sole source of credibility…

Here’s one more thing to consider in this debate about “journalistic credibility”. Go back and read Groo’s commentary about Jenni Carlson in l’affaire Gundy, particularly this observation:

… Carlson doesn’t offer a single sourced quote in response to a question that she asked. Unnamed sources and Carlson’s personal observations are of course appropriate and can be sprinkled into the story, but are they really the substantial stuff around which to build a column that reaches such a harsh, personal, and definitive conclusion?

Good points. And what did the folks at The Quad have to say about Carlson’s part of the dust up? Not much. About the harshest thing they did was to link to a post criticizing Carlson. Double standard? Big media bias? Back-handed self-promotion? Reflexive snobbery? You decide.

Of course, Carlson’s original piece probably didn’t have any snake drawings with it…


Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, The Blogosphere

8 responses to “Looking down one’s nose at the blogosphere

  1. SonuvaDawg

    I treat anything I read in a bulletin board, blog, a newspaper, or see on TV news the same way: I never believe it until I can confirm it with other reliable sources.


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  3. Scott

    Excellent post! Extremely well written and thought provoking. Good job Senator.


  4. Ah, the New York times the newspaper that created the legend of Fidel Castro back in the late 50s and paper of Jayson Blair who, when confronted with writers block, simply turned to fiction and plagiarism. Yes that’s a bastion of journalistic integrity.



  5. Fact is that blogs are just like any other media source. Their credibility should be evaluated on an individual basis, based on the track record they have established. Just because a newpaper is a newspaper doesn’t and shouldn’t automatically give it credibility. Regardless of how you feel about the president, CBS rightfully took a hit when it aired a story based on false documents. Nobody has a monopoly on credibility and to discount a blog simply because it’s a blog or because it has a humorous picture on it is like saying newspapers should be discounted because they run comic strips.


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  7. Idetrorce

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you


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