Mike the Mad Biologist

Josh Marshall describes his correspondence with a journalism professor who bashed blogs this weekend in The LA Times. Marshall writes:

There’s certainly no end of blog pontificating fueled by puffed-up self-assertion rather than facts. But Skube’s piece reads with a vagueness that suggests he has less than a passing familiarity with the topic at issue….

Now, whether we do any quality reporting at TPM is a matter of opinion. And everyone is entitled to theirs. So against my better judgment, I sent Skube an email telling him that I found it hard to believe he was very familiar with TPM if he was including us as examples in a column about the dearth of original reporting in the blogosphere.

Not long after I wrote I got a reply: “I didn’t put your name into the piece and haven’t spent any time on your site. So to that extent I’m happy to give you benefit of the doubt …”

This seemed more than a little odd since, as I said, he certainly does use me as an example — along with Sullivan, Matt Yglesias and Kos. So I followed up noting my surprise that he didn’t seem to remember what he’d written in his own opinion column on the very day it appeared and that in any case it cut against his credibility somewhat that he wrote about sites he admits he’d never read.

To which I got this response: “I said I did not refer to you in the original. Your name was inserted late by an editor who perhaps thought I needed to cite more examples … ”

And this is from someone who teaches journalism?

But this is the best part (italics mine):

…if you look at what he says, it seems Skube’s editor at the Times oped page didn’t think he had enough specific examples in his article decrying our culture of free-wheeling assertion bereft of factual backing. Or perhaps any examples. So the editor came up with a few blogs to mention and Skube signed off. And Skube was happy to sign off on the addition even though he didn’t know anything about them.

Granted, sometimes I report on a science article that’s been released. But I hope no one thinks I’m doing straight reporting–at most, I engage that god-awful hybrid ‘news analysis.’ As I’ve written before, I’m just another guy with a blog offering opinions and something approaching analysis. Sometimes I even apply myself and reference stuff.

It’s too bad that Skube doesn’t realize that, at least based on his op-ed, that he too, is just another guy with a blog.

Related post: Jill at Feministe writes Skube a letter.

Comments

  1. #1 blf
    August 20, 2007

    Presuming the excerpts above reflect what happened, is this an example of (one reason) why journalism in the States appears to be a vanishing profession?

  2. #2 Herb West
    August 25, 2007

    “It’s too bad that Skube doesn’t realize that, at least based on his op-ed, that he too, is just another guy with a blog.”

    Why do you say this? Does Skube claim that his op-ed is reporting?

    “But I hope no one thinks I’m doing straight reporting–at most, I engage that god-awful hybrid ‘news analysis.'”

    In other words, you agree that Skube’s argument is correct with respect to you and your blog.

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