Monday, April 17, 2006

Washington Putz: Left-Wing Profiling

It’s not quite clear what effect the Washington Post’s David Finkel was going for in his profile of My Left Wing’s Maryscott O’Connor other than some facile and condescending irony at the expense of someone, and something—namely, the blogosphere—he does not understand. Fair enough: it’s a universe out there. It takes a while to familiarize yourself with the thing, let alone skirt understanding. What’s clearer is that Finkel didn’t bother putting in any semi-curious reporter’s time into his story. It reeks of the quickie, of the shallow, of the smart-alecky by-line for its own sake, rather than for the sake of a piece worthy of a newspaper doing its best to transcend the provincial.

Three quick examples.

First, the amateurish reliance on blog comments. It’s one thing when a Salon blogger makes the mistake of judging an entire cross-section of the blogosphere by quoting from blog comments. As often as not Salon can slink to college-paper standards, in perspective if not in style. It’s quite another when the Washington Post falls in the same trap. So Finkel sat at his computer for a little while, skimmed a few scummy bits, cribbed them pour épater ses lecteurs bourgeois, and got himself seven or eight inches’ worth of padding for his article. Cheap trick. Read the rest...