Blogging versus Bloviating

Recently there have been a couple of great posts on the relationship between bloggers and the MSM. Kyle, as I mentioned yesterday, has penned a very thorough and thoughtful piece on the subject and HeismanPundit's Chris Huston has a nicely written piece that addresses some of Kyle's points and he offers his take on the relationship between bloggers and the MSM. I have had my issues with HP in the past but I think he makes some very good points in response to Kyle's piece but he also makes some observations about bloggers of his own that deserve merit.

From HP's piece (emphsis mine):

I find it ironic that some bloggers are complain ing about the direction of ESPN when many blogs are trying to capitalize with similar efforts. How many blogs trade in sleazy rumors, or get an 8th-grade kick out of saying the F word, or find it appropriate to put up pictures of cheesecake to move traffic?

I think we know whom he is referring to in regards to the F-word. As far as the cheesecake issue...where do you want to start? That's not really my thing as far as blogging goes, but if it can be done tastefully and get some good natured laughs then that's fine by me but I am not the "taste" police.

I also think he has an excellent point on the issue of original content below.

...it's not like the blogosphere has made enough of a habit of creating its own original content either. There are a bunch of really talented bloggers having their say and they get props for it, but the bulk of the bunch are merely reacting to events as covered by the MSM. How many are actually formulating their own ideas based on their own research or reporting? How many have an original thought on a subject? Some, but not enough. What does tend to proliferate is a hive mentality where the latest buzz gets passed around so bloggers can write OMG! or so they can try to find the wittiest way to spin an issue.

Fair points, sometimes the mob mentality takes the place of putting out thoughtful original content. I try to stay away from the salacious aspect of sports but sometimes you can't get around it.

I'm not sure I completely agree here, but I understand his point below.

This is a natural way for things to go, which is why I was on board for marching in the digital streets a few years ago over MSM coverage issues, but my focus was more on creating a viable intellectual alternative rather than a stripped down parody of the whole rotten mess which, in my opinion, is what the blogosphere is fast in danger of becoming.

I think HP is accurate for the most part. If we, bloggers, are ever going to be taken seriously by the MSM we need to be original in our content and not fall into the trap of turning into a tabloid type medium. Of course, I am all for some great humor like we have seen on a number of sites like DC Trojan, EDSBS and MZone. Those guys are tremendously creative and witty, I know there are more out there but those are the ones that stand out. I am certainly not saying we can't be funny or even a little racy within that realm of humor but bloggers are about a lot more than that.

Accuracy also needs to be followed, as without it we will only be considered bomb throwers instead of a credible alternative source for information. When sites allow inaccurate posts to stay up for the sole purpose of whipping the flames of a mob mentality then we are all branded negatively.

Following that line, I am drawn to something that I saw this morning. Now I don't visit to our rival site very often unless something catches my eye and this did. The author of this particular piece has a reputation of being a bomb thrower whose sole goal is trash anything that is USC while attempting to make anything ucla look heavenly. I realize that they don't like to check out any USC related sites but if you are going to use the mantra that "all that matters are the facts" then you better have your ducks in a row and this is best example of hypocrisy in regards to that mantra shown in that piece.

As I have stated in the past once a player leaves SC I wish him luck and I check up on them every so often with mild curiosity. How they conduct their life whether it is positive or negative is not my concern but of course I would prefer to hear or read positive stories about former players.

When I see a story that interests me, I will comment on it regardless of the nature of the story. Obviously some stories need commenting on no matter what, Like the Bush situation, but I am not scouring the MSM for every little story out there. I see most stories on USC but that doesn't mean I will comment on every single one.

A couple of weeks back there was an article in the L.A. Times about Jon Arnett and the work he is doing on behalf of retired NFL players. Arnett, a former USC running back and10 year NFL veteran, has taken up this noble cause and I congratulate him for his tireless work. But, noting that I am not an NFL aficionado, I am not fully informed in regards to the issue at hand. Arnett obviously has strong views on this issue and he has a deep sense of character that makes him standup for what is right, and I respect that.

Other former NFL players have also carried the torch on this issue including the player that is referenced in the above piece on our rivals site. But because there is such a rabid hatred for all things SC the author of the referenced piece misses the fact that there are other players involved in this noble cause and one of them is a former player from USC. I'm not concerned about the standards that are allowed on BN. It's the host's site and he can run it anyway he wants to but it tarnishes some good work when a post isn't accurate and  only fans the flames of hatred.

To constantly bang the drum about the lack of credibility within MSM and demand that the only conversation that you will listen to are those that are based on fact is disingenuous especially in light of the fact the author merely put a post up only to make ucla look good while making SC look bad without checking his facts. Credibility goes out the window when a post is allowed to stand that is not based on fact and instead is used merely as a tool further the collective attitude of hatred towards your rival.

For a group of authors trying so hard not to be like that which they so despise, I find it ironic that they would do the same thing, in regards to fact checking, as the MSM and fall into the trap that they so desperately are trying to avoid.

I think Kyle's and HP's respective pieces really bring this issue in focus. If we as collective group are striving to be different in a positive way then that's fine, but if we are clamoring for mutual respect for the hard work we put into something which is no more than a hobby to some then we will have abide by the standards that those with the biggest voice have set forth. Otherwise, we look foolish and the chasm between the respectable aspects of our different roles merely gets bigger not smaller.

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