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From Stone to Sullivan, It's the Blogger

April 08, 2002

Re "Antidote to the Liberal Monotone: Blogging," Commentary, April 4: Where did Norah Vincent get the idea that I think "blogging" is a bad idea? I think Andrew Sullivan's blogging is a bad idea. I can't imagine many people care about his bathroom troubles and his dinner parties. But are exploding toilets and "stomach evacuations" really what blogging is about? A worthwhile blog is one that sticks to topics that are likely to be of interest to significant numbers of people and treats them intelligently and (relatively) responsibly. I hold no brief for the "credentialed" media. I just think it's a good idea for everybody to keep their egos in check. Editors help most writers do that, and they also help them find points they've missed. If bloggers can do all that for themselves, I say, "Blog on."

I.F. Stone might be considered the first blogger. He was wrong about a lot of things, but I suggest his work to all as a model of thoughtful, committed, independent reporting and commentary: a blogger forefather, in other words.

Eric Alterman

New York City

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No doubt the rise of cable news and the Internet helps account for the decline of the "respectable" mainstream media. But that decline is also self-inflicted.

For all the talk of diversity, liberal orthodoxy overwhelmingly prevails in newsroom culture. Maybe not to the point of being a monotone--you did, after all, print Vincent's piece. Still, Mensa membership is hardly required to accurately predict who will be termed an "activist" and who will be labeled an "extremist."

Alan and Precy Benson

Newbury Park

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