Blog is Blog

Though it is said there are no absolutes in life, I’m pretty sure this is one: I don’t know everything. I used to have a favorite line I coined for just myself. It went like this: There are entire buildings devoted to all the things I don’t know. They are called libraries.

The Internet has made the library a bit less trafficked. Though many have adapted, DVD loans are always up. AND most also let you access the net there too. When I am homeless, I intend to spend a lot of time at the library. I have no faith in the Tyler Perry Plan and/or I’ll need the net to check how my SAG & AFTRA residuals are flowing, until I can buy my own island.

But that’s not why I’m here today. Today, I’d like to point out to readers of blogs a salient fact. Web logs are like columns. In the olden days, when newspapers & magazines meant something, having a column was something a writer earned. Sure, maybe they were getting it on with the editor. Maybe they actually went to Journalism School ( really a department in a college or university ). They spent their days & nights, doing scut work, getting a beat, and pounding it for years, while eating as many free press buffets as possible. One day, they write something that gets them noticed. If it happens a few more dozen times, if sales went up & you were[deleted] the editor, you probably got a column. Or fired, because they refused to give you more money. I was a Journalism major. I quit it.

Columns express the point of view & opinion of that writer and are set on or near the editorial section, that’s why they are called Op/Ed. Some people who read columnists & blogs don’t understand that distinction. While no one suggests any writer ever has carte blanche—editors still edit—columnists are not reporters. They don’t need to have facts or quotes. They may choose to use them to avoid libel suits—a good practice. Hey! even the NY Times had a reporter ( or 2 ) fabricating stories. Those were purportedly fact based. Had he or she been a columnist, it wouldn’t have been the same ethical issue. I’m not erudite or knowledgeable enough to do a full tutorial on journalism fine print, but readers do need to know the difference.

Yes–some bloggers are in the business of disseminating facts. They can also be reporters. For example Rick Reilly is a columnist, Selina Roberts is a hack, erm, reporter cum author. If I were working for say, Sports Illustrious or ISPN, I can’t say Manny Ramirez is a poophead. Mostly. Here I can. This is because Manny isn’t going to find me & knock me down. This is for a few reasons—one: though I am old, I don’t have any game tickets he needs. Two: he can’t read. See! that’s probably not true ( cough-yes it is ). But I don’t have to answer to anyone when I’m a jerk. Kind of like Manny! Again, not nice. Peter Gammons can get away with some stuff now because he is in the Hall of Fame & 2 years ago his brain blew up & he recovered. That aside, as a guitarist, he’s meh. But as a rule Pete won’t stoop to name calling. Yes, because he has integrity. And he doesn’t need a lawsuit after all those hospital bills.

So, if some blogger disses your team or your school or your mama, they might not fact check it. Well, maybe not your mama. Don’t expect the person to have three verifiable sources. Or even a source. Unless Mountain Dew Voltage ( I like it ) counts. Meanwhile I heard this awesome rumor about Tyler Perry & Dame Edith. I’d like to tell you, but I am waiting on 12 solid ( albeit fluid ) sources. When I get back from WalMart with my 12 pack, you’ll be the first to know. That’s if it’s still on sale.

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