At the risk of sounding like we're flogging a dead horse, Russell Smith's article in yesterday's Globe and Mail which was critical of blogs, bloggers and the traditional media organs who use them in their presentation to the public, has served to actually substantiate what I pointed out here.
Now, make no mistake. Smith's column (now behind the Globe and Mail's paid firewall) was highly critical to the point of being insulting to bloggers. But it was the study he used as the source of information for his column that was interesting. Reading the entire study gives you a whole different perspective. And what was written certainly differs from the angle fed to you by Smith. The State of the News Media 2006: An Annual Report On American Journalism, takes blogs at face value and provides a balanced and extremely useful critique. It also points out the uniqueness of blogs and the fact that blogs do indeed add something to the journalistic endeavour.
Canadian Cynic did a lot of the work on this, so rather than repeat his perceptive take on this, I'll stongly suggest you read his latest.
Now, if Smith is indeed attempting to manipulate readers by cherry-picking his reference to suit his ends, he would be guilty of breaching the public trust. That is, if he was in a position which subjected him to such law. He isn't. He's a journalist. He can say what he likes and discipline is up to his editors and publisher.
But not if Conservative MP Colin Mayes has his way. The MP from Okanagan-Shuswap thinks journalists should be jailed for writing "distorted" or "inaccurate" articles. Nunc Scio has it here.
Now his press secretary says he was joking. Really. We're not done then, are we? Mayes is a raving wingnut and the legs on his ideas are way too long.
Now... for the benefit of Russell Smith, if you look at what happened above, I gathered the content from one story, the content from another story, pulled up the reference, gave the readers access to all of it, (should they be interested in reading the WHOLE thing), and then gave credit to the two other bloggers who did most of the work in getting closer to the source material.
That, my dear Russell would be the same as if you wrote your column, offered to have your reference material couriered to any reader who asked for it and then told all your readers that there is equal or better material in the Montreal Gazette and the Victoria Time-Colonist written by different people.
Updated to fix a broken link. My apologies to Nunc Scio.