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Media debates – We’re doing it wrong

September 20, 2010

I may geek out on Blogger vs MSM debates, but even I can OD on the issue sometimes.  Now that our players are back in town and we’re getting ready for the puck to drop (PRESEASON GAME ON RDS THIS WEDNESDAY MONKEYS CAN YOU EVEN?), I feel like things are going to get a little quieter on the whole New vs Old Media front, but in the meantime, the whole discussion is making me twelve different kinds of sad.

A couple of things became apparent on Friday, when news that later turned out to be false came out that Pat Burns had passed away. It may have been the “old” media that first reported it, but it was definitely thanks to the “new” media that the “news” travelled so rapidly. 

Once it became clear that Pat Burns had thankfully not passed away, the first thing that happened was that the internet kind of failed all over the place. You see, rather than continue to focus on all the good memories and thoughts we’d been sharing, we started getting all finger-pointy, outraged, smug-arse and just generally intolerable about whose fault the erroneous report was and how the whole thing had been handled. All of a sudden sources and methods and which-media-faction-has-the-biggest-penis became the order of the day.

The second thing that happened was that I got caught in a couple of testy exchanges with a couple of people on Twitter because I am sometimes alarmingly bad at expressing myself for a writer. After some sensitive comments all around, I think I managed to clarify what I meant, but it also became clear to me that we’ve all been going about this the wrong way (and that I have never managed to properly articulate my thoughts here for you all to see).

The debate has always been framed in a “Blogger vs. MSM” context (or vice-versa). It’s always a “generally, with some exceptions” kind of discussion.  “Can’t paint ’em all with the same brush,” “Of course some MSM/Bloggers are good,” etc.

We need to rewrite the context of the discussion. It’s not about MSM vs. Bloggers. Or it shouldn’t be, at least. It needs to be about “Good Blogging and MSM” vs “Not-So-Good Blogging and MSM.”

Easier said than done, right?

Of course. There is far too much reluctance among the two groups to be associated with each other. Everybody wants to prove they belong on the playing field and some members flatly refuse to admit the other group has a place there, too.  I think pretty much everyone involved has had at least some insecurity about their position in the grand scheme of things and someone is always trying to prove that their claim of legitimacy is justified. MSMers are often afflicted with this illness called ‘smug superiority’… but we bloggers have an even worse disease: smug inferiority.

First, let’s all chill.

Second, let’s all grow up.

Third, let’s all stop pretending we’re two united fronts. 

We are not. If you’re a blogger who thinks they’d stand up for any and all fellow bloggers, tell me this: would you stand up for Eklund, too? He’s a blogger. I wouldn’t. It’s guys like him that give you and me a bad name, and I don’t want him on my team. I don’t care about his ad revenues or his site traffic or his right to make up whatever he wants.

As for the MSM… well. There is a very limited number of “real journalists” that read my blog and sometimes comment on my work privately, and lately I’ve been hearing that a lot of bloggers share this kind of experience. I get why and am not about to ask those readers to come out into the open unless they really want to. One thing I do know, though, is that when someone like Adrian Dater or Damien Cox pulls a… well, Adrian Dater or Damien Cox, other members of the MSM call them out on it. I don’t think they’re all on the same team, either.  

It’s going to be really hard and take a long time for Old and New Media to get to the “pass the popcorn” stage. I don’t know if there’s ever going to be trust or acceptance between the two sides, and if the smugness and insecurities will ever go away. But I’d like to think that one day we’re going to get to a point where Good Bloggers and MSM are a united front against Not-So-Good Bloggers and MSM. 

I’d love to see those MSMers that get in Carey’s face not be allowed to talk to him while bloggers who respectfully ask him questions (without gushing) are given face time with him after the game.

I’d also love for the news that Pat Burns has not actually passed away to have been continued talk about how he is part of all of our hockey memories, about how he is the reason many of us love hockey.

It wasn’t, and we should all be ashamed of that. It really is time we stopped looking at everything in hockey through MSM-vs-Blogger-coloured lenses. And when the issues do have to be about media, maybe let’s try talk about Good Media vs. Making-Us-All-Look-Bad Media for a change.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Happy Girl permalink
    September 20, 2010 3:16 pm

    awesome post

  2. September 20, 2010 3:18 pm

    You’re right, and I’m sick of the entire debate as well. It all seems rather petty.

    “Bloggers suck!”

    “No, the MSM sucks!”

    “Bloggers live in their parents’ basements!”

    “Hey, the MSM blogs, too, moron!”

    “But bloggers suck.”

    It’s absolutely fucking pointless. Life is short, and I’m all but out of patience for this type of “dialogue,” if I can even call it that.

  3. kidkawartha permalink
    September 20, 2010 3:37 pm

    When I first the announcement of Pat Burn’s death, my instinctive (and warranted) reaction was to simply disbelieve it until I had seen indisputable evidence of it. It’s not that I’m smarter, I just think I’m learning not to a) trust anything in the MSM unless it’s been truly verified and b) to treat most “news” on Twitter as one big potential Onion story until the truth becomes obvious.
    Not sure what that means, and if it’s good or bad.

  4. kidkawartha permalink
    September 20, 2010 3:37 pm

    When I first saw the announcement of Pat Burn’s death on Twitter, my instinctive (and warranted) reaction was to simply disbelieve it until I had seen indisputable evidence of it. It’s not that I’m smarter, I just think I’m learning not to a) trust anything in the MSM unless it’s been truly verified and b) to treat most “news” on Twitter as one big potential Onion story until the truth becomes obvious.
    Not sure what that means, and if it’s good or bad.

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