Second Round KO: Slate's Jack Shafer vs. David Shaw of the LA Times
You just had to know that Slate media critic Jack Shafer was lying in wait for David Shaw of the La Times after Shafer posted a delightfully vicious debunking of Shaw's attack on bloggers. Excerpt from Shaw:
BLOGGERS require no journalistic experience. All they need is computer access and the desire to blog. There are other, even important differences between bloggers and mainstream journalists, perhaps the most significant being that bloggers pride themselves on being part of an unmediated medium, giving their readers unfiltered information. And therein lies the problem.Shafer responded with the above referenced piece, pretty much destroying all of Shaw's arguments (and making Shaw look like a snotty elitist in the process). Sample:
When I or virtually any other mainstream journalist writes something, it goes through several filters before the reader sees it. At least four experienced Times editors will have examined this column, for example. They will have checked it for accuracy, fairness, grammar, taste and libel, among other things.
Without naming a specific offender—except Matt Drudge, who he acknowledges really isn't a blogger—Shaw generalizes about bloggers for 1,300 gassy words.Now Shafer drops the other shoe, given the opportunity by a piece in the LA Times that was rather...well...grossly inaccurate - despite the "several filters" that it went through before seeing print. After dissecting the errors, Shafer sums up:
Shaw's insistence that the reporter's privilege be reserved for professionals would put the government in the business of deciding who is and who is not a professional, therefore who is a journalist, which would constitute an embryonic form of licensing. But as Jacob Weisberg recently noted in Slate, "Journalism does not require any specific training, or institutional certification, or organizational membership, or even regular employment. It's just an activity some people engage in that is protected under the Constitution." The reporter's privilege should protect acts of journalism as opposed to journalists—professional or otherwise.And then, in the best tradition of kicking an opponent when he's down, Shafer concludes:
Such a generous definition would even apply to the Los Angeles Times on its bad days.Ouch, that's gotta hurt.