Friday, August 04, 2006

The MSM Strikes Back

Last month, my favourite blogger Mr Wang, posted an article saying, The MSM Grows Nervous. Judging by the two lengthy articles that appeared in the Straits Times within a short span of 3 days, it appears that Mr Wang was right on target as usual. I think the MSM is more than nervous. They are probably angered by the many criticisms leveled against them by widely-read bloggers like Mr Wang. Just look at some of the unsavoury comments they used to label bloggers.

Article No. 1 by Sandra Leong, ST Life Section, July 30, 2006

“There are an estimated 50 million blogs out there in cyberspace now, and everyone of these bloggers has this aim: Read me. I want to be famous. The Age of Narcissism is well and truly upon us, but how healthy is it?”

“Welcome to the me-me-me world of blogging, but is it self-expression or self-indulgence?"

"Are bloggers becoming too narcissistic? Will all this self-publicity backfire? Isn't there something unhealthy about how people are so eager to share with the world every wart in their lives?"

"the excessive inward focus and self-indulgence of many bloggers is troubling" - Dr Mark Cenite, assistant professor at Nayang Technological University's school of Communication & Information.

Ironically, in the same report, there is news that the Ministry of Education - in conjunction with Singtel - will be organising an inter-school blogging contest next month. If blogging is such an unhealthy activity, why is the MOE promoting it? I hope our professional journalists will have the courage to write something to protest against this unwise move on the part of our government.

Article No. 2 by Senior Writer Andy Ho, August 2, 2006

"Some ask if bloggers are journalists at all or merely self-indulgent, opinionated folks expressing their views."

"Much of what bloggers offer is either misinformed, self-indulgent opinion or thoughtful but unargued ones."

Mr Andy Ho thinks that journalists do two things; (a) get the news and disseminate it accurately, and (b) analyse issues.

He believes that the professional journalist, “whose first obligation is to be accurate”, can do the former more effectively than the blogger, “whose first obligation is to be interesting”. Most bloggers do not generally report on something new. Typically, they report on what reporters have reported.

I think I can agree to a large extent with this last comment – but not the part about the obligations though.

Regarding the second role of fair comment, he thinks that: "Much of what bloggers offer is either misinformed, self-indulgent opinion or thoughtful but unargued ones." On this point, I disagree. I find that some bloggers like Mr Wang offer much more incisive and intelligent analyses than those of Straits Times journalists. Maybe their hands are tied somewhat for fear of offending the authorities. And, surprisingly, some of the part-time writers at TODAY seemed to write better than those at ST.

As for the lifestyle related articles, I find that many bloggers write more interesting and enjoyable articles than those in the Straits Times which tended to be too long and quite boring at times.

While I feel that it is too sweeping to say that all blogges are "self-indulgent " and “want to be famous”, I wouldn’t go so far as to dismiss the 2 articles as “ Silly Views”. But it really doesn't require the professional analytical skills of a mainstream journalist to see that the Straits Times is out to hang this label on all bloggers: SELF-INDULGENT.

Still, I think this is good time to reexamine my blog and see if its fits this unpleasant label. If it does, then perhaps it is time to call it a day, or at least scale down and concentrate more on my other blog, seeing that the signs of the Lord’s return multiply by the day.

No comments: