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  • Is Linking Enough?

       January 02, 2005

    In the comment section, Dave, takes issue with my post on the Reggie White flag flap. Dave says:

    I think you are an irresponsible journalist wanna-be with poor writing skills at best. I read you source articles before formulating an opinion. For your commentary, you took the most incinerary and divisive portions of the article and then ended with you own shallow, race baiting, and demeaning conclusion about one of the greatest men and NFL players of our time. As the source article mentions (and what you failed to include), was then this was the third time, since July that the flags had been lowered in tribute to a deceased member of the Packer organization. All while the war was still raging in Iraq.

    I take issue with much of what Dave claims. The Christine Brennan article that prompted the post was all about spreading a rumor that veteran's protests were racially motivated. I couldn't "take the most incinerary and divisive portion of the article" because the whole point of it was to be incinerary and divisive.

    On the other hand, I think Dave's comments do bring up an interesting question. Does just linking to an article "cover" you? Can you post an excerpt to an article as long as you link to the entire source piece, or is it an all or nothing proposition? What responsibilities do bloggers have when they present their source material?

    Personally, I think bloggers can quote whatever they want from a source as long as they do link to that source. As a rule, I don't like to simply repost someone else's article. I think it's redundant and the ability to just link instead is one of the beauties of the blog.

    Is this irresponsible journalism? I don't think so. Compare a blogger who quotes the most interesting parts of an article, links to the whole thing and comments on it to a traditional journalist. The traditional journalist reveals their sources to their editor, but not to the public. In the post Dave complained about, for example, the Christine Brennan article refers to a radio callers who questioned whether protests about having the flag at half-staff for White were racially motivated. Brennan doesn't provide the reader with any way to get more information about these calls. Were these callers from the Green Bay area (where they might have a little knowledge about the issue) or were they random blowhards from Anywhere, USA? Brennan must know, but she doesn't share it with us.

    Or, as another example, Maureen Dowd was rightly criticized for using ellipses to distort the meaning of President Bush's words. As readers had no immediate way of finding out what the President actually said, she was indeed getting away with something. Bloggers don't have that luxury.

    Journalists and bloggers aren't the same. The fact that so many people seem to think that bloggers are just journalists in pajamas is both a tribute to those bloggers and an indictment of traditional journalists. While RatherGate is the most obvious example, I also remember the fake booing for President Clinton's health that the AP reported. If the line between bloggers and journalists has blurred, it's because too many journalists aren't doing their jobs and it was left to bloggers to find the truth of the matter.

    Posted by at January 2, 2005 09:15 PM

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    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: Badger87 at January 3, 2005 08:14 AM

    I must admit that one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when the flag lowering incident happened was why were there no complaints about the other times and wonered about it. Your comment about White's death being high profile makes more sense.

    I think if you link to the complete article you are covered. People can go read the whole article and then choose to debate your take on it.

    I had a similar issue this past summer with a MSM "journalist". I had an e-mail exchange with John Nichols from the Crapital Times regarding his editotial on an interview with President Bush last summer. In his editorial he lambasted the President for givivng evasive answers and bascially dodging the questions. Fortunately, he provided a link to the interview. I watched the interview and basically the Irish journalist kept trying to interrrupt the President of the United States during his answers. After a couple of these times, Bush became visisbly upset and cut her off. Because of Nichols' rabid Bush hatred he saw this as being evasive, I saw it as a foreign journalist not giving the President of the United States the courtesy of completing his answers before asking a follow-up question. When I called him on this and chastised him for misleading his readers he resorted to calling me irresponsible.

    Go Pack....Outback Bowl sucked.....

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: at January 5, 2005 10:52 PM

    they shouldn't lower the american flag... thats just dumb. But it is weird that its only an issue now.

    Saying only "thats how we've always done it" isn't a justification for anything.




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