News Sources: Cut the Chatter, Be More Like Bloggers

by blue midget

Blogging is on the rise and with big names the likes of Google and Yahoo supporting the growth, a backlash has begun. Professional news sources and politicians alike have been arguing that any individual who reports a news blog should follow the same laws and regulations that a “reputable” and “responsible” news source would. The question then becomes: What is “reporting” and what is “rehashing”? Most bloggers out in the intangible area that has been retardedly named the “blogsphere” aren’t really reporting any new news at all. Instead, they compile reports that they see from known, professional news sources and reinvent it on their own sites – pretty much like what we do here at Halffull. The argument against regulating this kind of news blog is that it is opinion and commentary based on other news sources, and not reporting. Regulating this kind of blog would then become a violation of first amendment rights.

Interestingly enough, according to recent studies done by various non-profit organizations whose focuses and goals are to support the Bill of Rights (or particular amendments) and create awareness, only 40% of Americans can list even one right granted by the first amendment. Even more frightening is that only approximately 2% of Americans can list the first ten amendments (the Bill of Rights). In case you are one of these people, the first amendment right that I am referring to in this case is the First Amendment, and more specifically the freedom of speech. I wish that I had one amazing link for you to click so you could grasp the first amendment in its entirety, but the first amendment covers so many different things that its meaning and how it specifically applies is still being argued today.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

It’s a beautiful thing. Here are a couple of links you may or may not care to check out regarding this:
University of Missouri Kansas City, page on First Amendment Law

A list of all amendments:
House of Representatives

But let’s get back to the original argument. I am amazed that with the recent scandals of name dropping (Valerie Plame CIA Leak) and anonymous sources with false information (Newsweek), another finger is being pointed at the blogging community. I find this personally offensive. To me, this does not infer that bloggers are irresponsible with what they say, instead it suggests that anyone who reads these kinds of websites do not have enough common sense to detect sarcasm, satire and opinion, and separate it from fact. My guess is this is because paid news sources are concerned about (#1) the almighty dollar, and (#2) the common reader is too stupid to sift through material and decide on what is fact, because obviously the common man and woman blindly believes everything that is reported.

Since I began sifting through various news articles and websites for my news report, I have become more selective and critical about the articles I read. In many ways, I have begun to appreciate blogs more and more, not just for the humor value, but because it’s nice to read something plainly, instead of having to sift through a lot of insinuation and wordy fluff. For example, take a look at the recent attacks on President Bush from Dems and the Press regarding whether or not the Bush Administration intentionally misled the American people on Iraq.

Most of you know of the criticism regarding the Iraqi war. Bill Clinton and John Kerry have been a couple of people repeatedly seen in the press, criticizing the war in Iraq and President Bush. The jist of it is, the Bush Administration intentionally misled the American people and Congress regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, twisting the facts of the intelligence documents and lying outright about it, and that President Bush is a big wanker.

After local elections saw many Democrats voted in, it was taken as a sign that voters were against Bush and that the entire GOP party was paying for it. Here’s one of many articles supporting this: Has Bush become election liability?

“‘The thinking of it is that if the president comes he can activate the Republican base and those people who perhaps wouldn’t have gone to the polls in fact would go to the polls because they would be animated by what he had to say… As it turns out it appears that his appearance activated the Democratic base…’ Dr Halper told the BBC.”

FIGHT! FIGHT! Now the Bush Administration has to respond. It is being widely reported that Bush’s ratings are lower than ever, everyone hates the GOP and that Bush sucks big hairy balls.

In the past week or so, the press has been all aflutter with a rebuttal from Bush. This CNN article called “Greenfield: Bush Trying to Turn the Table on Dems” reports:

“In an address Monday at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, President Bush accused war critics of ‘playing politics with this issue and … sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy.’”

Bush Administration’s rebuttal to all of this criticism is the intelligence provided to them on Iraq was the exact intelligence shown to the Clinton Administration, and even though we did not go to war during his presidency, Clinton’s assessment had been pretty much the same as Bush’s had been, and that Bush is rubber, Democrats are glue, whatever you say bounces off of him and sticks to you.

You guessed it, here comes the shouting match. Democrats and the press alike have stepped up their verbal attacks on the Bush Administration, accusing them of twisting the intelligence information on Iraq, manipulating Congress, the UN, and your momma. Richard Cohen of the Washington Post sums up his dislike of the President’s speech in his article “Ignoring the Facts”:

“We can endlessly debate the facts of the Iraq war — and we will. More important, though, is the mind-set of those in the administration, from the president on down, who had those facts — or, as we shall see, none at all — and mangled them in the cause of going to war with Iraq. For example, the insistence that Hussein was somehow linked to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — a leitmotif of Bush administration geopolitical fantasy — tells you much more than whether this or that fact was right. It tells you that to Bush and his people, the facts did not matter.”

The article explains where Bush supplied false information and gives further criticism to his actions surrounding the war, if you care to give it a read… and if you can stand the many hyphens and commas. It’s only about a page long.

The sound of the shouting between Dems and the Bush Administration is deafening. No better time than the present for Vice President Dick Cheney to emerge, mysteriously unscathed from the indictments in the CIA Leak. The San Francisco Chronicle reports in their article, “Cheney: War critics are opportunists, he says senators of both parties saw Hussein as a threat”:

“Speaking at a Wednesday night dinner of the Frontiers of Freedom Institute, a conservative research organization, Cheney said Democrats who say they were misled by the administration are ‘making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war.’

“‘The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone,’ Cheney said. ‘But we’re not going to sit back and let them rewrite history.’”

Now, that took me a really long time to sift through so many different articles in order to be able to decide on the facts for myself. There are times that I would really prefer to be able to just read one article that sums things up nicely so I don’t have to read twenty different articles on one subject. Wouldn’t it have been better if I could have just read:

Criticism of the Bush Administration and the War in Iraq:
Press: You lied!
Dems: Everyone hates you!
Bush: Kiss my ass!
Dems: Impeachment!
Press: Hooray!
Cheney: Uh, Mission Accomplished?
Everyone: Shut up!

See? Wasn’t that better? And you didn’t have to cut through twenty different articles just to figure all that out.

Yeah, I’m stalling on this week’s news report. I think I’m going to need another cup of coffee before I start sifting through the almighty mountain of news articles again.