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Blogging The Dead

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doug_thompsonBy Doug Thompson

I don’t second-guess the dying and irrelevant, as a rule. Blogs do that.

No, the old newspaper guy isn’t about to dismiss blogs. He’s about to give them some really good free advice. Here it is:

New media, suppose you’re right. Suppose you are the wave of the future. Mainstream media is a dying concern, as you say.

Then spend less time secondguessing what the mainstream media does.

I’m all for criticizing people who deserve it, or at least those who I think deserve it. It’s what I do. That includes some kicking people while they’re down, I suppose. However, too many blogs only spring to life when MSM does something they don’t like.

This is a dead end, folks.

True story: A couple of elections ago, some supporter of some candidate insisted that some report on some blog somewhere was not true. It was my responsibility to set the record straight, this supporter told me with great earnestness.

No, it wasn’t, I replied. My job — which was being a reporter then — was to provide my readers with balanced, accurate, comprehensive information. If they chose to get their information elsewhere, that was their choice. If it was better than mine, well, then they made the right choice. If it wasn’t, hopefully they’ll stick with me next time.

I may be a newspaper dinosaur, but every Monday or Tuesday I drag my scaly hide in front of a computer and tap out a column for a free weekly. I do it because I enjoy it. There’s more juice. I can write about the games I play, about national political observations that really don’t belong in a regional newspaper, and whatever. It’s an alter-ego. It’s an alternative.

What I write here is important, at least to me, but not everybody agrees with that. I’m sure there are plenty of people who picked up some Free Weekly with a column of mine about the Wii or some movie I saw and said, “What’s this junk?”

Every column I write here is something I wouldn’t write for the daily newspaper. It’s more personal. The Fayetteville Free Weekly is

still a printed product, with all the constraints that go with that. Using the almost limitless space and freedom that Web-based journalism provides as nothing but ground

to stand on while you criticize the “real” media is a terrible, terrible waste. Worse, if you’re right that the MSM is dying, then you’ve shackled yourselves to a corpse. If we die, we take you with us if criticizing us is much of what you do.

Speaking of the Internet and death, note that the operator of the Gizmodo Web site had his computers seized by police after he took apart the prototype of the lastest version of the iPhone and wrote about what he found.

Apple has a right to protect its property — and the will.

Last week I predicted that somebody was going to produce a viral video of the famous “1984” Apple computer commercial with Steve Jobs’ face on the giant screen. I’m going to cut that column out and keep it. That’s the one prediction that will come true.

Speaking of Web sites, I opened up the liberal “Daily Kos” today and saw a small ad. It says MoveOn.org and ActBlue raised $2,090,060 for Bill Halter’s U.S. Senate campaign as of Tuesday.

Money helps, but I still can’t believe the fact that so much of his money is coming from national liberal groups helps Halter make a convincing point that incumbent Blanche Lincoln is out of touch with Arkansas. Granted, she takes money from business, but it’s beginning to look like she has to.

Back to the topic of good sources of information: Check out the Pew Research Center Web site. There’s a new survey out. Here’s the first sentence: “By almost every conceivable measure Americans are less positive and more critical of government these days. A new Pew Research Center survey finds a perfect storm of conditions associated with distrust of government — a dismal economy, an unhappy public, bitter partisan-based backlash, and epic discontent with Congress and elected officials.”

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