Glass Houses

glass_house_03.jpgAtrios links to a post by Ed Cone regarding a column written by Michael Skube, who dismisses blogs with a wave of his lordly hand:

He quotes a study that finds that “the typical blog is written by a teenage girl who uses it twice a month.”

“navel-gazing goes but so far.”

Skube says, “A reporter, if he’s worthy of being called one, respects the craft’s cardinal rules: accuracy, impartiality, fairness, verification, proper attribution.”

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He was uncomfortable with the lack of editors at blogs. I asked if he was familiar with the concept of peer editing, which is how blogs correct each other. He said he’d heard of it, as used by students in public schools, where “the peers who edit are the people least suited to do it.” (my emphasis)

When Ellen Goodman wrote a piece in the Boston Globe about the dearth of women in the liberal blogosphere, I contacted her to challenge that assertion. She said that her failure to mention or quote even one single successful woman blogger was due to her “word limit.” In her article she also cited a study of the “90 top political blogs” and concluded from looking this over that in the liberal blogosphere men are more likely to link to men, but the fact is that the 90 top political blogs aren’t all liberal and include a large number of conservative blogs. I asked to see the research because I had serious questions about the methodology and the conclusions she reached. She told me to contact her again after Labor Day and she’d check to see if the researcher was comfortable being contacted.

If I say in a post that 61% of Americans think Congress shouldn’t fund the war without timetables, I link to the source of my information because my “peer editors” know that there’s a difference between a Washington Post poll or a Rassmussen poll or a Quinnipiac poll and they want to be able to look at the way that questions are phrased, the sampling and the methodology. I’d have my ass summarily handed to me in a bold and public fashion if I tried to fob off statistics with some obvious flaws that I based my entire thesis upon and then refused to produce them when asked.

I guess our “peer editors” are a bit more exacting than those at the Boston Globe.

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