Be careful of blogs
All blogs are not created equal. Most are not news and not reliable. They are someone's opinion, often not an informed opinion. However, there are good blogs. In politics, those are the ones you want to find. Take a look at www.publicradio.org/co...
All blogs are not created equal.
Most are not news and not reliable. They are someone's opinion, often not an informed opinion.
However, there are good blogs. In politics, those are the ones you want to find.
Take a look at www.publicradio.org/columns/minnesota/polinaut for a good example of a political blog (short for "Web log).
Recently, for instance, the Minnesota Public Radio blog reported some interesting information: "WCCO-TV's public file says the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has purchased $403,425 in television ads during the last month of the election. The 271 ads will run on the daily newscasts, Oprah, the soaps and the NFL pre-game shows."
On the last day of filing for elective office, several blogs ran updates, including some live from the hallway outside the secretary of state's office. "Bill Luther is filing right now" one blog proclaimed.
Blogs have been common for about five years, with them becoming increasingly popular among political commentators, candidates, parties and journalists. But you must do some research before believing what you read.
The word "Pawlenty" put in a Google blog search the other day produced 15,344 hits. The first two results weren't blogs at all, but Twin Cities news organizations' Web pages.
The third hit was from "Speed Gibson of the International Secret Police." He had this to say about Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty: "Every time I soften a little, and try to think of how much better Tim Pawlenty will govern than would Mike Hatch (?) next term, our Governor does it again. This time, Pawlenty called for a two year Federal moratorium on prescription drug advertising. If his re-election depends on nonsense like this, he has already lost. The unconstitutionality of this proposal is self-evident."
Does anyone really care what Speed thinks about Pawlenty, other than Speed himself?
Then there is "Hammer of Truth, common sense shoved up your. ..." It reprinted, without added comment, a news release from Sue Jeffers, a long-shot former Libertarian candidate challenging Pawlenty.
Michael B. Brodkorb's "Minnesota Democrats Exposed" may be the best-known state political blog. It's the one that got the mainstream media interested in Rep. Matt Entenza's investigation of fellow Democrat Hatch. Some credit Brodkorb with knocking Entenza out of the race.
Brodkorb is a former Republican Party employee who now works for a couple of GOP-oriented organizations (including the Mark Kennedy campaign). He has a knack for getting incriminating documents. Of course, he only posts the ones that would hurt Democrats, so readers must keep that in mind and not expect an unbiased report.
In June, Broadkorb picked up a quote from Rep. Connie Bernardy, DFL-Fridley, that seemed to indicate she expected Pawlenty to win re-election this fall. That's something many bloggers do - pick out obscure parts of a news release or speech and blow them out of proportion.
While journalists generally stick to certain principles, such as trying to bring readers both sides of a story, bloggers are under no such obligation. Often, a blog reads much like newspapers of old, the ones run by party partisans to whip up supporters of one side or another. As such, they serve a purpose.
However, for people wanting to get news from blogs - reader beware.
Blogs are a fact of life in this age when anyone can launch a Web site and say whatever they want. The trick is to figure out the ones to believe - or just ignore them all.