231 Erwin Road

My experiences as a Northern transplant down in Chapel Hill, NC, 2005. And now my experiences back up in NYC.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Blog'Factor

I'm sitting here watching the O'Reilly Factor. O'Reilly is talking about some court ruling that allows minors to get an abortion without parental consent. I have a feeling I'm not hearing the whole story, but there is no way to tell that watching a medium that communicates in only 1 direction. I don't care about the particular issue, my rant is about the current medium.

Many times I've heard the argument that blogs and especially 'political blogs' will fall apart at the seems because it's a bunch of unqualified people voicing their opinion.

I don't think this is true for two reasons. 1, When you have a large enough community commenting and editorializing, you create checks and balances that a medium such as TV cannot facilitate. 2, I don't think the guests on some cable news shows are of qualified voices either.

I used to think that when a guest was an author, that gave them some qualification, I now think it is the other way around. I think a lot of these guess come on the show to promote their book, their book is not a credential. These guests fulfill the desired stance the host is looking for (that position could agree or disagree with the host.) However, the information is presented in a very one-sided manner and it is difficult for a viewer to here valid counter arguments.

Yes, I could search the web and try to find more information on the subject (in this case, the above mentioned abortion issue.) But that is too much work. Let's assume I could watch TV on my laptop and people could comment in realtime in some sort of chat window. It may be hard to filter all of the comments, but there could be tuning bars that would filter certain: arguments, positions, credentials, people's comments that I've read before, ....

A system like that would allow me to form an educated opinion. Yes, there would be a lot of garbage, but there would be a lot of good material as well. It would be an open forum. It would help level any political bias.

Lessig makes a good point about political blogs. He stated that although blogs allow any nutjob to voice their own opinion, the fact that the posting is open to public comment would allow carefree or immature arguments to be proven incorrect. It is one thing to spit out ignorant ideas and never hear a backlash, but to have somebody repeatedly breakdown and invalidate your argument is a learning experience. You cannot continue to blurt out ignorant thoughts if the argument is thoughtfully broken apart.

There's more to this, anybody care to discuss?


  • At 4/02/2005 9:48 PM, Blogger Brent said…

    I agree that it's possible that the sheer volume of blog postings will yield something of value, although whether that then becomes an "informed" opinion is still up for grabs. I also agree that the authors of "books" who show up on "news" shows like O'Reilly's are generally totally quacks; people get books published (I'm learning a bit about this from my own field) largely through political connections rather than any value inherent in their work. So Joe Schmo has a friend at Simon & Schuster who has already vetted Joe's politics, his crap gets through, and O'Reilly revalidates those views on the show. It's frustrating. I like this idea of the filter, but I also have severe reservations about popular judgments, themselves already the products of saturation by the above-mentioned media programs. So I guess I don't have any solutions. But at least I'm still reading your blog.


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