Saturday, January 21, 2006

problems with the blog

If you haven't heard yet, The Washington Post has shut down after getting a f*ckload of negative comments in response to the Ombudsmen's comment, written in error, that Jack Abramoff had made contributions to both Democrats and Republicans.

The story about the shutdown - as the Post choses to cover it - comes across as hyperdefensive and a little juvenile. Throwing around comments about "liberal" web sites and "uncivilized" behavior on the web, the paper makes it clear that they're scared about the impact that this brave new world is going to have on them and their "legitimate" journalism.

"The episode was another demonstration of the unbridled - and often uncivilized - discourse that can take place on the Internet around political issues."

Post laments the fact that this had to happen "at a time when newspapers, via their online operations, are attempting to foster more dialogue and interaction with their readers."

Having just spent the past couple of days at the Word of Mouth Marketing Association conference, I am deftly able to translate the above statement to mean, "at a time when newspapers, terrified about shrinking readership and advertising sales, are taking advice from marketers who don't have a clear plan as to how to handle the inevitability that people are going to have strong reactions to major errors in reporting about issues that have profound relevance as to the current state of our democracy."

Play nice, kids, but keep the dialogue going.

No comments: