Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thank you, JinC Editors


I’ve said it before: one of the falsehoods most MSM journalists peddle is “bloggers have no editors so you can’t rely on them the way you can on us.” That's baloney!

JinC has hundreds of editors. Many of you reading this are among them. Your corrections, additions and prompts make this “electronic journal” much better than it would otherwise be.

I appreciate your work. Thank you.

Yes, the pay is lousy but your “job satisfaction” ought to be very high.

I’m only half-kidding about that.

The serious –really momentous – half is that you “editors” are part of a communication and control revolution that will likely prove to be as great as, or greater than, that brought about by the development of the printing press.

At his eponymous blog, screen and mystery writer Roger Simon recently posted on the revolution.

I’ll give him the last word tonight. His post is a tribute to all who edit blogs and bloggers the way so many of you do.

I’ll be back “talking” some more about you this weekend.

Again, thanks.


Now Simon:

The New Republic - Only an Idiot Would Pay For This

In the midst of reading (a bit late) the revelations regarding the lies of Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp in The New Republic, I clicked over to, only to be reminded the magazine is actually asking us to buy a subscription to read their publication on line. In other words, they want us to pay for their lies!

Can you imagine anything more absurd and shameful? Who would be such an idiot?

Here's the top article on their web page today: The Overhyping of David Petraeus, Army of One by Andrew J. Bacevich . The first graph hints that General Petraeus is being oversold as our savior in Iraq. But to read more, to get the "facts" backing this up, you have to pay. The cost of a digital subscription to TNR is $29.95.

Considering the amount of free information about Petraeus and everything else online, let's hope Mr. Bacevich's facts are more reliable than Private Beauchamp's.

Or perhaps TNR will offer our money back for disinfo and propaganda.

But allow me to go further. As many reading this know, I am not a "young blogger," alas (wish I were). I spent a lifetime working in mainstream media - book publishing, Hollywood movies, newspapers and magazines.

Fact-checking, in my experience, is a big lie. It barely exists in the mainstream media.

As an example, I wrote an article for the Los Angeles Times on my experiences on the jury of a film festival in Siberia. It contained many statements about the state of the Russian film industry in the post-Soviet era.

My fact-checking? It consisted of a young lady calling me up and asking me "Did this happen?" I said, "Yes." End of conversation. That was fact-checking.

And with some exceptions, that is par for the course. Mainstream media cannot afford extensive fact-checking. They are already in the soup financially. Where would they find the money to do it, even if they wanted to.

Blogs, of course, are much better at fact-checking. [What? You can't be serious.-ed. Damn right, I am.] Thousands of eyes are staring at these words right now, many of them belonging to people much more qualified and capable than the fact-checkers of the MSM. An open comment section lurks below.

It's hard to get a spelling error by here for long, let alone a serious error of fact. If I were making up stories like Pvt. Beauchamp, I would be crucified - and deservedly so.

Of course, I am up against questions of fact-checking every day as an executive at Pajamas Media. It can be nerve-wracking and humbling (fortunately we have those comments to keep us honest) and for that reason I have some sympathy for [New Republic editors] Martin Peretz and Franklin Foer. But not a lot.

Their way is the old way. If it's not over now, it's over soon. And the Beauchamp Affair put another nail in the MSM coffin. Pretty soon it will be thrown overboard.