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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

The Australian attacks bloggers again « Previous | |Next »
August 23, 2008

I'm slow to pick up on Christian Kerr's piece in The Australian attacking bloggers because I'm in the bush back of Clare. I cannot say I'm not surprised by another attack on bloggers from The Australian. But I am surprised that it took so long since the last one and that it is so poor in terms of arguments.

Kerr asks whether the internet is the greatest tool for the sharing of ideas or an instrument for reinforcing prejudice? Big question isn't it. The lightweight pundit answers in the negative:

The internet is narrowcasting to narrow minds, with some of the narrowest dwelling in the echo chamber world of the blogs ....The offenders here are discussion blogs. They would like to see themselves as the common rooms and salons of the online world. But they are intolerant and, worse, often incorrect .... In the world of the blogs there is so much righteous indignation, so much sneering superiority, so little analysis and so little humility in the search for balance, or even for further information that may enrich or enhance the views expressed ... Bloggers have discovered that proffering conspiracy theories is a very good way of looking wise to the ways of the world while being utterly ignorant. There's plenty of [paranoia] on the blogs; paranoia about certain journalists, certain newspapers, paranoia about certain pollsters, paranoia about Catholics taking over civil society, paranoia about (yes) Zionists and paranoia about US government conspiracies.

From these comments Kerr clearly has leftwing blogs in mind. He adds that the blogger's pet hate is the mainstream media and then comments that the mainstream media offer two crucial elements missing from the world of the blogs--- balance and fact.

Kerr therefore implies with a straight face that The Australian (its online) and the tabloids of News Ltd (also online) stand for balance and fact, and so do not have any conservative prejudice, bigotry and speculation. That is myth making.

Does Kerr himself offers balance and fact in his commentary on the internet as an instrument that reinforces prejudice? Not really he reduces the internet to blogs and sees the blogs in negative terms. Isn't Kerr offering sneering superiority with little analysis in answering his question? Sneer and bigotry was his trademark when writing for Crikey on green issues. It was his trademark style. Little has changed since apart from the bloggers being the new enemy.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:40 PM | | Comments (11)
Comments

Comments

We are the modern pamphleteers. Forget the broadsheets with narrow minds. They don't even give us an online opportunity to refute their empty and ignorant assertions.

I skim quickly through the free emailed version of Crikey and rarely pause to read any of it. The writers seem obsessed with demonstrating that they are 'proper' journalists and spend a lot of time whining that they don't get treated that way, so it's not surprising they are scared of blogs.

Kerr is with the Australian now Ken.

It's been interesting to watch how the blogosphere has responded to this compared to how they've responded to attacks from the Australian in the past. The charge 'we're the real journos and youse are only pretenders' doesn't get anywhere near the response it used to, which suggests that the ozblogosphere is finding its comfort zone.

On 'balance and fact', somebody over at LP said that all this rubbish about balance ignores the fact that most of us would prefer objectivity, which is what journalism is supposed to be about.

An opinion columnist is no more a journalist than a blogger is a journalist. The greatest difference between them is that bloggers know they're bloggers, while columnists seem to have themselves confused with professional reporters.

"He adds that the blogger's pet hate is the mainstream media and then comments that the mainstream media offer two crucial elements missing from the world of the blogs--- balance and fact."

Mainstreem media=commerical media, for the most part.

Isn't it then practically an analytical truth that the mainstreem media reports from the skewed perspectives of commerce and enhancing popularity?

Lyn ,
there is no journalism on Public opinion. It is all commentary. I've never understood the OZ bloggers claim that they do journalism; or are journalists.

Commentary is based on rhetoric and argument not balance and fact. It offers an interpretation of events from a particular perspective.

"Kerr is with the Australian now Ken."

He told you I only skim Crikey :D.

Postglobalism,
your comment-- the mainstreem media reports from the skewed perspectives of commerce and enhancing popularity---is spot on.

"there is no journalism on Public opinion. It is all commentary. I've never understood the OZ bloggers claim that they do journalism; or are journalists."

Precisely. The 'real journos' vs bloggers nonsense was rubbish from the start in Australia. Bloggers never pretended to be be reporters, unlike opinion columnists who do.

'Commentary is based on rhetoric and argument not balance and fact. It offers an interpretation of events from a particular perspective.' Just like Kerr's piece.

Kerr is all a bit ho hum. He's faded badly since moving to The Australian. He's become a minor hack.

True, Nan. He was always a bit nasty at Crikey, but he's really let himself go since the move.

Kerr's assumption that bloggers are a monolithic group is clearly wrong.