Sunday, April 29, 2012

Vigilantism vs. Journalism

Joan Walsh, a writer for Salon recently did a piece on an article written by Arthur Brisbane of the New York Times, where Rick Santorum misrepresented John F. Kennedy's speech on religion during the 1960's. Walsh has been under praise by people on many social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter for her work. She reveals in her article that what she did was nothing complex, rather a simple google search (  The dichotomy between journalism and vigilantism is expressed when Walsh talks about how good reporting has nothing to do with being a vigilante for truth.  Scott's article on the blogosphere, talks about the "blog trimphalism" where the involvement of bloggers during the 2004 presidential campaign lead to the forced retirement of Dan Rather, a CBS anchor. Fact checking was a large part of this movement and it is perfectly depicted here. What bothers me is that even though Walsh was late to the story, nobody stood up to disapprove of Brisbane's article, and I am assuming this is because of the trust we have within large media outlets. Walsh commented that:

"I assumed I’d be late to the Santorum story because I was sick yesterday and didn’t even watch him live, I just heard about his remarks online. "

Even a large trust worthy media outlet such as the New York Times that many readers whole heartedly trusts, make factual mistakes such as this.

1 comment:

  1. I think you are right that Scott's skepticism of "blog triumphalism" is relevant here (although he is more concerned with bloggers who get ignored rather than writers in mainstream organizations who get their facts wrong. Perhaps being clearer about unpacking all the digital elements of the story (the Google search, -- which was founded as a specifically online news magazine, and Twitter and Facebook praise for Walsh) would help the clarity of your opinion piece.