Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bloody bloggers

Are bloggers journalists?

I'm not making some egotistical claim to purveyance of the truth, far from it. My blog is an exercise in venting, and if people choose to look at it, so be it.

There are, however, numerous so-called "citizen journalists", inevitably driven by one political agenda or another to put their opinions on display for the edification of others. The Drudge Report, The Huffington Post, even IndyMedia if you're looking for an example closer to home - all of them see themselves as heroic rebels against the "established order" and its vested interests.

That's not to say that their finger-wagging and eagerness to hop aboard the good ship Moral Highground are entirely unfounded aspirations. Yes, of course, mainstream media are riddled with vested interests. Journalists self-censor for fear of their jobs or offending their own political leanings. Objectivity has merely become an excercise into how best to hide one's own personal bias towards a story. Some do so successfully (see The Irish Times), some not so (see every tabloid this side of eternity).

This is where blogs fail fundamentally. Opinion is blogging and blogging is opinion. Bloggers don't make their opinions a secret. It's a spice they gladly add to their concoction.

But is it really a failure? It can be argued that this is what people have come to expect of news, or rather, what they want of their news sources; an opinion which supports their own, or a counter-arguement that they can tut over disapprovingly and remark at what rubbish it is. We don't see news as something to challenge us anymore. We take it as a comfort blanket to re-inforce our own opinions. We're happy in our information provincialism. You'll never catch a liberal reading The Daily Mail, nor will you see the local landlord perusing his copy of The Guardian as he engages on the next leg of his hunt for the local darkies.

So is objectivity the sole characteristic that sets apart journalists and bloggers? Or has it come to a point where it is little more than snobbery on behalf of journalists and indignation on behalf of bloggers?

Sure, aren't we all journalists nowadays?

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