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Bloggers on the beat

August 22, 2007

Re "Blogs: All the noise that fits," Opinion, Aug. 19

Michael Skube writes that "some [bloggers] reject the label 'journalist,' " going on to name a number of well-known liberal bloggers. He maintains that the blogs disdain reporting, preferring "a potpourri of opinion and little more." Among the bloggers Skube names is Joshua Micah Marshall, the proprietor of three websites under the umbrella of Talking Points Memo, which employs reporters who do original, signed reporting. Marshall does some original reporting himself, but his main position is the editor and publisher of a small independent magazine. The major difference is that Marshall publishes electronically and continuously. Apparently, he is writing for money, as evidenced by the advertising on his site.

From Skube's writing, it is obvious that he hadn't bothered to even look at Marshall's blogs. Had Skube bothered to do a little "old-fashioned gumshoe reporting," he might not have embarrassed himself so publicly.

Peter Van Erp

Providence, R.I.


I keep a "diary" at the Daily Kos blog and, contrary to Skube's Op-Ed article, the main priority of many political bloggers is not simply affecting the political process in the sense of anointing this candidate or that one, or hungering for readers. No, for me, the main priority is "the struggle of memory against forgetting" -- the struggle of man against power, as Czech author Milan Kundera put it. Blogs give us the power to contextualize a set of facts against other facts, which the mainstream media simply do not do.

And it's not just on the political scene that this is important; for example, many in the blogosphere saw the recent sub-prime credit meltdown many months ago, while CNN spent most of its energy bashing illegal immigrants.

John M. Kowalski

Camas, Wash.

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