Are bloggers “scandalmongers”?

I haven’t seen a lot of blogs covering this story. Kairosnews has a post about it, and Instapundit had a brief entry on it, but otherwise, silence (I should add that my blogroll isn’t very extensive. Maybe everyone’s harping all over this thing and in my ignorance I just missed it).

Seems like there should be more reaction from the blogosphere on this one. Brokaw says bloggers are a “political jihad.” Cronkite calls them “scandalmongers.” Where’s the outrage, people? Matt Barton at Kairosnews did manage to work up a pretty good froth over this one, and the cnet story links to a response from Boycott CBS, but otherwise, not so much.

Personally I don’t think bloggers are scandalmongers so much as they are blathering idiots. They report with authority on things they don’t understand. This is not to say the mainstream media doesn’t on occasion do the same thing, but the mainstream media can, on occasion, be convinced it made a mistake. There’s no convincing these online zealots. (If you’re reading this, and you have a blog, I don’t mean you. I mean those other bloggers.)

That’s not to say there aren’t bloggers who are outright scandalmongers. There’s nothing like the rush of a blog post that becomes a hit — linked by the “famous” blogs or Fark or Slashdot. The act of creating a blog is in itself an act of vanity, so the temptation to write something really juicy is incredibly great. After all, if you don’t want to earn some sort of “fame” from your writing, you could just keep a private journal, right? (Yes, of course I’m including myself in this characterization. However, when I write something especially juicy, I do at least have the decency to label it “satire.”)

Mostly, I think, most bloggers are just plain stupid. (Of course, if you’re reading this and you have a blog, you’re obviously an exception.) Let me give a germane example: in response to the claim that bloggers are mounting a “political jihad” against Dan Rather, blogger and BoycottCBS founder Michael Paranzino retorted as follows:

Jihad is not Americans demanding reforms from an arrogant and biased media. Jihad is Islamists mowing down children for sport, blowing up families at Tel Aviv cafes, and in case he forgot, terrorists sending jet airliners into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Paranzino is clearly so dull-witted that he can’t see that Brokaw was making an metaphor. No thinking reader would interpret Brokaw’s words as suggesting that bloggers are mounting a religious jihad against Rather. Brokaw qualified his statement with the word “political,” indicating that he understood this not to be the same as a true jihad. How can the founder of BoycottCBS.com claim as a goal anything other than to strip Rather of his political power? Wasn’t that exactly Brokaw’s point?

This is just one example of the way bloggers quickly lose perspective on the issues and reveal their ignorance. Since anyone can have a blog, those messages percolate quickly through the blogosphere and begin to take on a life of their own.

But you better not take my word for it. Remember, I just told you I don’t read many blogs. On this topic, I’m as ignorant as any blogger out there.

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