The Biases of Daniel Lyons

I read the article on weblogs this morning from Forbes Magazine, “Attack of the Blogs(Attack of the Blogs)”:http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2005/1114/128_print.html. What I didn’t realize (and no else reading just this article would), is the obvious involvement that Lyons has in the story. From reading “Is Daniel Lyons a loser?(Is Daniel Lyons a loser?)”:http://www.thejemreport.com/mambo/content/view/174/42/ and “Daniel Lyons is Not A Fanatic. He’s Just From Another Planet.(Daniel Lyons is Not A Fanatic. He’s Just From Another Planet.)”:http://www.digitaldivide.net/blog/Taran/view?PostID=6988, you quickly find that valid questions about his objectivity have existed for quite a while. It is always unfortunate when those who cover the news become a part of the story. It is even worse when they actively try to use their position as a reporter to advoce their position. That is obviously what Lyons is doing here.

In Blogs we Trust

bq.Don’t trust everything you read in blogs. While more and more news organizations and companies are creating blogs of their own, many blogs are filled with false information. – “Marshall Loeb(The upsides and dangers of blogging)”:http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story.asp?guid=%7B2DA3129F%2DF6A7%2D41E9%2D8D0D%2D3CDFE1DF01C6%7D&dist=rss&siteid=mktw
bq.Main stream media sneer at bloggers, claiming that we are unregulated, out of control and no one checks our work like their editors do theirs. Yet time and time again we find it is MSM who are faking it. And now today comes more media faking it. – “Marc(America – Media Making It Up)”:http://ussneverdock.blogspot.com/2005/06/america-media-making-it-up.html As Marshall points out, don’t trust everything your read in blogs. Because some of them are created by news organizations.

Credibility in Media

Some people have high expectations.
bq.The Periscope item in the May 9th issue of Newsweek is a creature from an earlier climate of credibility: when a single-source story was good enough; when anonymous was okay as long as you trusted “your guy” at the Pentagon or the DA; when the consequences of being wrong were not as great, as instant, or as global; when the game of being first – which always meant more to journalists than anyone else – could go on as if it had intrinsic value to the public. – “Jay Rosen(Newsweek’s Take-Our-Word-For-It World)”:http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/05/17/nwsk_err.html Some have low.
bq.I have a suggestion. Why don’t we immediately assume that all press reports are at least as thinly sourced as the Newsweek story, and not make a big deal of it when we discover that one is. Instead, let’s applaud the pros when they show evidence of diligence, multiple sourcing, and respect for what actually happened instead of what they think their editors will buy and what their readers will understand. – “Dave Winer(About Newsweek)”:http://archive.scripting.com/2005/05/17#aboutNewsweek Some think they have no responsibility to get anything correct.
bq.At present, I have a few thoughts I can certainly not prove, but the gaffe over the Michael Isikoff story in Newsweek concerning the Koran and the toilet is redolent with bad odor. Who, indeed, was Isikoff’s supposedly reliable Pentagon source? One’s counter-espionage hackles rise. If you want to discredit a Dan Rather or a Newsweek crew, just feed them false information from a hitherto reliable source. You learn that in Intelligence 101A. – “Norman Mailer(Intelligence 101A)”:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/archive/norman-mailer/intelligence-101a_1142.html Yet most all of us can agree in one area.
bq.The survey showed that 74% of journalists and 89% of non-journalists said one should question the accuracy of news stories that rely on anonymous sources. – “Joe Strupp(New Survey Finds Huge Gap Between Press and Public on Many Issues )”:http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000920962 And just for the record, while Norman Mailer is concerned about which “side” benefited, let us remember that “17 people died(Muslims blame Newsweek for deadly unrest)”:http://www.thestar.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=132&fArticleId=2524728.

Censorship in San Fran

Many stories have been covered in this space about government censorship of the Internet in totalitarian regimes like “China(The Great Firewall of China)”:http://www.libraryplanet.com/2003/04/17/firewall, “Iran(Blocking Iran)”:http://www.libraryplanet.com/2003/07/11/iran, and “Europe(Rating Freedom)”:http://www.libraryplanet.com/2002/11/09/freedom. Now you can add the city of San Francisco to the list with their “Blogger Registration(Who’s Foolin’ Who?)”:http://www.chrisnolan.com/archives/000738.html idea. Apparently, the city fathers want to make sure that nothing like “what is happening in Canada(Canada’s Corruption Scandal Breaks Wide Open)”:http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/004220.php happens there. — Of course, we would never have to worry about anything like this happening at the “federal level(Mice & Free-Speech Cookies)”:http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/43438.htm, would we?

Building Empire

A few years ago, Mark Waid and Barry Kitson did a comicbook with a rather unique twist: “Empire”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1401202128/libraryplanetcom/ref=nosim/. The twist was that, in the end, evil always triumphed over good. That isn’t what makes it controversial, though.
bq.A public library book containing explicit pictures and language and aimed at younger readers will remain on the shelves at the Goldfields Library, despite concern from a Bendigo mother. Yesterday, the mother said she was horrified after discovering her 12-year-old son borrowed the Empire comic book last week. The book contains several graphic sexual images, as well as expletive language. It belongs in the Young Adult section of the library. – “Robyn Powell(Comic book shocks mum – explicit pictures no laughing matter, says parent)”:http://bendigo.yourguide.com.au/detail.asp?class=news&subclass=local&category=general%20news&story_id=369393&m=2&y=2005 via [“The Beat(Comic book shocks mum)”:http://www.comicon.com/thebeat/archives/2005/02/comic_book_shoc.html] One aspect of the trade paperback collection is that it is quite easy to see where the demarcation occurs between the early issues that had some restraint and the later issues (after a publisher change) that had none. The parts referenced in the article do not occur until well into the overall story. Be careful not to judge a comic by the cover. Or even by the first few pages. If you are going to have these in your collection, you need to read them carefully and use your professional judgement. I just checked and we don’t have a copy of this in our collection. But if we did, it certainly wouldn’t be in Young Adult.

Banning Gay Books

Gerald Allen wants to stop “the purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle”:http://www.al.com/news/birminghamnews/index.ssf?/base/news/1101896768316400.xml from the libraries of Alabama. I don’t even know where to start on this one. The article cites the obvious choices like the “Picture of Dorian Gray”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0553212540/libraryplanetcom/. Which led me to think of “League of Extraordinary Gentleman”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00005JM5B/libraryplanetcom/. We could go on like this for hours, but what would be the point…

Photo No-No

Someone just forwarded me an e-mail from “Photo No-No!(Photo No-No!)”:http://www.photonono.com/. You will have to judge for yourself. Have we reached achieved “this level(I Filter Naked People)”:http://www.libraryplanet.com/2003/07/naked of technological achievement? Or should I be a skeptic?

Vietnam on Filtering

bq.Vietnam has ordered local governments nationwide to closely monitor Internet use and enforce regulations aimed at cracking down on “bad information” sent or read on the Web, an official said Tuesday. The move comes after the communist country sentenced several dissidents to long prison terms over the past two years for using the Internet to criticize the government and promote democracy. – “Associated Press(Vietnam orders Internet use monitoring)”:http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/aptech_story.asp?category=1700&slug=Vietnam%20Internet%20Crackdown

Boeing on Filtering

bq.Users also won’t find any blocking or censoring of Web sites. The company decided – aside from the added complexity filtering would bring – that passengers are unlikely to visit objectionable Web sites in an aircraft, where other passengers can look over their shoulders. – “Martyn Williams(Broadband Internet takes to the skies)”:http://www.nwfusion.com/news/2004/0517boeing.html

Blue Coat Filtering

bq.In the case of Blue Coat’s new porn blocker, which it unveiled Tuesday, the company claims that it will go beyond merely filtering the addresses of known porn sites. It will also stop employees from using popular search engines to pull up indexed images of pornography. “It’s not enough to just enable an employee to not go to a URL with porn. You have to filter deeper at the search level,” said Maria Lewis Kussmaul, director of research with America’s Growth Capital. – “Paul R. La Monica(No porn for you! )”:http://money.cnn.com/2004/05/27/technology/techinvestor/lamonica/index.htm I can’t find “anywhere(Content Filtering with Blue Coat)”:http://www.bluecoat.com/solutions/content_filtering.html where it mentions doing anything of the kind. They do mention “comprehensive URL databases” and the ability to block multi-media content.