Rather than take up comment space on Hugh Holub’s excellent post, I’m going to offer my two cents here.
First, an observation about anonymity. Here I agree with Brodesky; it’s a curse. It is especially objectionable in comment threads, where people are able to get away with comments that they would be ashamed of if properly identified.
For all of the supposed anonymous blogging that Brodesky complains of he seems to know quite a bit about who’s blogging where. Here at TC.com most of our bloggers actually sign their blogs and the identity of those who don’t is pretty much an open secret.
One of Brodesky’s major criticisms of the blogosphere is that bloggers don’t do what responsible reporters do: get both sides of the story. Getting “both sides of the story” is what makes real reporters reliable and unbiased.
Maybe so, but it frequently leads to a failed obligation to get at the truth.
Here’s an example:
Too much political reportage takes the form of reporting candidate Jones’s assertion that Social Security is broke and candidate Smith’s claim that Social Security is funded until the end of time. Is this enough? No. If this is your story you have failed the reader. You haven’t made any attempt to determine which one is right; or if the debate is grounded in contradictory assumptions such that the candidate exchange is simply empty.
Your story my be ‘unbiased’ but it’s less than useful. You have simply reported two opposed biases: Mr. Jones’s truthiness and Mr. Smith’s truthiness. Wow.