Blogs and the wicked mixing of fact and fantasy

Conor Brady is not impressed with the ‘citizen journalism’ of the internet. He sees in the rise of bloggers a “concomitant decline of fact-based journalism and reporting” Worse, he argues, “In this bizarre new order, anonymous or pseudonymous people put out rumour as if it were fact, invention as if it were science and innuendo as if it had been adjudicated in a court of law”.

‘Edit first, then publish” used to be the immutable law of information-processing in the days of ‘old media’ – print, radio and television. It even survived into the early phases of the internet when most of the news content was generated by people with a background in journalism, accustomed to applying some basic standards of validation to what they put out. But it didn’t last very long. “Publish everything first, then let the reader edit it,” became the new maxim. Why not? Now anyone can build a website for a few euro. Editing, evaluating and making judgments is time-consuming, costly and boring. It’s so much more fun and so much less trouble to lorry everything up onto the site without worrying whether it’s inaccurate or even harmful.

It’s at worst when:

…the untruths and the rumours and the fantasies are interspersed among information sources that are valid and reliable. It becomes impossible to know what is true and what is invented. An interview with the State Governor may appear plausible until the reader realises that it is juxtaposed with an article written by a crew-member of an alien craft that has landed at a secret location in the Nevada desert.

Discover more from Slugger O'Toole

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.

Categories Uncategorised Tags

We are reader supported. Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger. While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.