Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Andrew Marr gets it wrong in anti-blogging rant

Andrew Marr gave the blogging fraternity both barrels - and two fingers - when he addressed the Cheltenham Literature Festival this week.
“A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed young men sitting in their mother’s basements and ranting,” he said.
“The so-called citizen journalism is the spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night,” he, well, ranted.
Perhaps Marr should have declared an interest. He has no reason to be a friend of the blogosphere. It is likely to be the only place where the background to why he obtained an injunction last year to prevent publication in the national press of what his lawyers described as “private” information about him could leak.
I stopped watching his eponymous Sunday morning television show long ago missing the news agenda-setting edge of either The Today Programme on Radio 4 or BBC 2’s Newsnight. Of the three, Marr, the BBC’s former political editor, is more likely to give politicians the easier ride.
He has a point, though. There is a lot of bile to be found on blogs but it is mostly in the comments attached to original posts.
Guido Fawkes is a leading political blog run by Paul Staines, which attracts a flood of obscene – and unfunny – comments on a regular basis.
I put this to Staines when I met him at a seminar last year. He said the comments were part of the character of the website and for the most part only racial slurs were banned.
Anonymity, as Marr says, does provide a cloak from behind which some bloggers launch “terrible things” they wouldn’t dare say in person.
In my defence Grapefruitcrazy’s rants are rare and if anyone cares to discover my real name they need look no further than ezinearticles.com where I re-publish some of my posts.
Journalists – whether in traditional media or online – who are paid for their labours should have greater knowledge of their subjects than amateur bloggers. This is if paid online news content is the way ahead, as Marr seems to suggest. But he fails to acknowledge that many stories taken up by the nationals and television start their life on the internet.
In terms of bias often there is not much to choose between the two. The trained journalist is just more skilled in disguising it.

1 comment:

  1. Well GC. The Andrew Marr attitude is typical of TV presenters, says Jaffa. Yes it must be galling to have a top education, be intellectual. write good books, present good TV topics and programmes, only to find oneself out gunned and out manouevered by a load of amateurs on the net. He will just have to get quicker on his feet. "Block 13 on the Camino Real", and counting. . . .

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What do you think? GC