[EDITORIAL NOTE: In a special Retirement section today, The New York Times has published a story, Elderbloggers Stake Their Claim, which includes an audio interview with Mort Reichek of Octogenarian. Milt Rebman of Milt's Muse is quoted too along with yours truly. You might want to take a look.]
For many years, Boston Globe columnist, Ellen Goodman, has been a favorite of Crabby Old Lady’s. She has found Goodman’s thinking to be, sometimes, so inspired and thoughtful, that she’s even sprung, once or twice, for a book of her collected essays. But last week Ms. Goodman disappointed Crabby.
In an ignorant column about a few bloggers who shamefully blamed journalist and Iraq hostage Jill Carroll for her own captivity and accused her of anti-Americanism, Ms. Goodman accuses all bloggers of polluting the media.
“…not a good moment for the bustling, energetic Wild West of the new Internet…”
“…many [bloggers] have only one exercise routine: jumping to conclusions.”
“These attacks raise the question of what bloggery is going to be when it grows up. An Internet op-ed page? Or a polarized, talk-radio food fight?”
“…mostly unedited, without standards or correction boxes.”
Many Bloggers? By Ms. Goodman’s standards, we should condemn all newspapers, including her own Boston Globe, for the frauds of Judith Miller, the plagiarism of Jayson Blair and Ben Domenech, and the fabrication of Mitch Albom in writing a report of a ball game before it was played.
Crabby was amazed to see that although Ms. Goodman singled out Don Imus’s producer, Bernard McGuirk, for his slander of Ms. Carroll without disparaging all of talk radio, she allowed no such grace to bloggers, all of whom, according to Goodman, are responsible for the contemptible words of a handful.
It is as though Ms. Goodman is living in time warp. Until about two years ago, mainstream media famously dismissed bloggers as pajama-clad poseurs until some political bloggers beat “professional” journalists at their own game during the last election campaign.
Now newspapers liberally quote and proudly link to bloggers who mention their stories. They even solicit mentions from bloggers, as Crabby Old Lady can attest with marketing emails from such publications as Newsweek, Time and others landing in her inbox each week.
So, on what planet has Ms. Goodman been living for the past few years? Crabby wants to know. Blogs are almost mainstream these days.
As with a few mainstream media reporters who break the rules of journalism, some bloggers are unethical, insensitive and indecent. The vast majority, however - millions upon millions - are honest, careful editors of their own writing and quick to correct errors when they are pointed out. Some are even professional journalists. Others have been journalists in the past and still others, journalists and not, post their standards and practices on their blogs - which is more than some newspapers do.
Ms. Goodman ended her column last week with a disingenuous call for amends:
“For many bloggers, credibility - and decency - should begin with an apology to a survivor named Jill Carroll.”
The few (not “many”) who trashed Jill Carroll are not the sort who will apologize. After this misinformed screed, Crabby believes it is Ms. Goodman’s credibility which is at risk and she owes all the blogosphere an apology of her own.