Monday, April 10, 2006

Boston Globe's Goodman Blasts Blogger Bigmouths

In her recent Boston Globe editorial, Ellen Goodman blasts bloggers who were dopey enough to believe statements made by Jill Carroll under still in captivity--and who then wrote acerbically about it:
An online jeering section bought it hook, line, and sinker without waiting to hear that the videos were made under threat. As Alex Jones of Harvard's Shorenstein Center said, ''They were gulled by a clever piece of propaganda and ought to be ashamed of themselves."

The printouts on my desk describe the 28-year-old journalist, a hostage and victim for 82 terrifying days, as something between Patty Hearst and Baghdad Jane, between a traitor and ''Princess Jill." TBone posted a potshot, calling Carroll ''a liar" and the kidnapping ''a total scam." PA Pundits said that ''I still just can't get past her being (for the most part) unharmed." And Debbie Schlussel called her a ''spoiled brat America-hater."

And although Goodman notes it wasn't just bloggers (the lovely Don Imus, paragon of fair journalism, also shot his mouth off on this one), she does suggest that bloggers apologize to Jill Carroll for their remarks...

Frankly, I don't think it's Goodman's place necessarily to chide the entire blogosphere for the actions of a few. I would like Goodman to take a gander at this piece by Tom Merritt in C-Net that makes some very good distinctions about insiders, outsiders and the blogosphere, and then I'd like to ask Goodman if the bloggers she's upset with, who are people expressing some shoot-first-ask-questions-later opinons, were really worth her lather. (with the possible exception of Debbie Schlussel, they really weren't...see MartiniPundi for a further explanation.)

I'd also like to consider that by mentioning the blogs she's seeking to punish, that Goodman might have actually helped their stats. One rule in the blogosphere that Goodman doesn't get: sometimes for a small blogger, bad press is a good thing. So, Goodman's chiding might actually have helped these bloggers, who few have heard of, actually gain in reputation.

Shoot yourself in the foot much, Ellen??

Seriously, though, on the matter of personal opinion: if a person has an opinion that is in bad taste, and they are only one out of millions of individuals that have opinions that are in bad taste, should someone who is basically an insider like Ms. Goodman, who is also not a blogger, be telling these outsiders not to have their opinions?

Personally, I think these particular blogger's opinoins ARE in bad taste--but it's up to them to change their minds and decide to apologize. It's not up to me or any media personages or anyone else in the blogosphere to put pressure on them to change their opinions. What happened to the patriotic ideal that I might not like what someone says but I'll defend their right to say it??

oh, guess that doesn't exist for people who are not jumping on a zeitgeist-loaded bandwagon. Guess Dr. Phil was right when he had some anti-war Iraq war protesters on his show, filled the audience with military personnel, and then proceeded to pillory the protesters in an effort to get them to support the troops. Guess that's okay because, after all, in the rhetoric of the day, those protesters should apologize to the good men and women who are fighting for freedom...

And, no, I don't like the idea that Jill Carroll had to come back from such an awful experience and hear this kind of garbage--but she doesn't have to read it either. She probably didn't even know this stuff was there before Goodman shot her mouth off about it.

Kind of like an older sibling tattling on a small fry, or a town gossip shooting her mouth off and making a tempest in a teapot. . .

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