Anniversary Thoughts: Atlanta Metbloggers As Media Critics

As we celebrate the first birthday of Atlanta Metblogs (are we toddlers now?), letís take note of another important blogging anniversary thatís just weeks away.

On September 8, 2004, CBS Newsís 60 Minutes Wednesday program used forged documents as evidence in a story about President Bushís National Guard service record. It was blogs, not print or broadcast outlets, that first exposed the documents as forgeries. Broadcast and print quickly came in behind the bloggers, however, triggering a chain of events that sullied the reputations of Dan Rather and CBS News (although why a grandstanding, blow-dried non-reporter like Dan Rather even had a journalistic reputation to sully is beyond me).

The so-called Rathergate affair was bloggingís introduction to most Americans. Before Rathergate, words like ìblogging,î ìbloggers,î ìblogs,î and ìblogosphere,î seldom appeared in the mainstream press outside of technology or features pages. Now those words regularly appear on the front pages of papers, in broadcast news stories, and on talk radio.

Rathergate highlighted the power that bloggers have to keep the excesses and misdeeds of the press in check. People have been able to critique the press online for years, but the amazing search and syndication functions built into todayís blogging software have only recently made it possible for large numbers of cogent and sensible citizen-critics to put their words in front of a large audience.

One of my ambitions for Atlanta Metblogs in the next year is that more of the contributors, myself included, follow the Rathergate example and use this blog to advocate for better journalism.

Iím not talking about going out and becoming . Iím talking about using Atlanta Metblogs as a platform for an ongoing dialogue about the Atlanta press. Citizens need to hold the local press accountable for the information it disseminates. As contributors to a popular blog, weíre better placed to do that than just about anyone.

In the future, Iíd like to see less cutting-and-pasting of AJC stories on Metblogs and more commenting about the same stories — what the paper got wrong, what the paper missed, etc. Iíd like to see Metbloggers highlighting the lies and misleading half-truths pouring out of the mouths of our local talk radio hosts. Iíd love to see Metbloggers take local TV news to task for continually shunning serious journalism in favor apartment fires and four-part investigative pieces on teenagers having sex with crane-sitting runaway brides.

With that in mind, when this anniversary celebration passes, Iím going to post a blog entry about one local newspaper reporterís self-interested disregard for several important rules of journalistic ethics, and the newspaper that condones her actions.

8 Comments so far

  1. Jessica (unregistered) on August 4th, 2005 @ 4:24 pm

    Good Lord, Andi, that would require us to actually listen to local talk radio. I can’t even hear my boyfriend (who is made of stronger and lefter stuff than I) mention Neal Boortz without cringing.

    But along those lines, I feel obliged to plug again.

  2. Daniel (unregistered) on August 5th, 2005 @ 8:43 am

    “take local TV news to task for continually shunning serious journalism in favor apartment fires”

    On the whole, I agree with you, Andy. But what about when the apartment fire was one of our co-bloggers future homes?

  3. karsh (unregistered) on August 5th, 2005 @ 11:13 am

    Atlanta metbloggers as media critics…I like the sound of that. My work is in a rather public arena, and between media events I either have to cover or am obliged to attend, there’s a lot of half-truths being shuffled around and whole truths being overlooked (for example, the two missing girls in SW ATL I posted about a few days ago). I think you’re making a big step in the right direction.

  4. Joe (unregistered) on August 5th, 2005 @ 6:47 pm

    You mean Jim Wooten is a woman!?!

  5. Jim V (unregistered) on August 8th, 2005 @ 12:47 pm

    Jessica, thanks for the plug. Your post is also interesting relative to my blog. The reason I’m able to do is that I’m a fan of 99X and their morning show. It would be a lot more difficult for me to do a BoortzWatch, a RegularGuysWatch or god forbid, a MichaelSavageWatch. Some may think Toucher is a mouth-breathing chair-warmer, but I think he’s funny.

    Andisheh, please don’t keep us in suspense! Who is this mystery reporter?

  6. Andisheh Nouraee (unregistered) on August 8th, 2005 @ 1:25 pm

    I have to go to a funeral right now. I’ll post something tonight.

  7. Idna Norom (unregistered) on August 8th, 2005 @ 3:33 pm

    yes hardhitting journalism from a loaf writer…yes..yes i cant wait. i mean Peter Jennings, the voice of news, died today so this better be really good…and better be big…is it a major tv anchor…is it about Boortz? taxes? is it about racism… voting rights…politics??? An Islamofascist apologist who considers Catholics more dangerous than murderous jihadis?…OK I’m dying to know.

  8. Jim V. (unregistered) on August 8th, 2005 @ 5:38 pm

    Never fails, after a heavy rain…

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