Blogs are big, at least momentarily—and with faddishness comes folderol. The particular flavor of tomfoolery that's bugging me today is the thesis that mass self-published rant can serve as a useful counterweight or cross-check on the so-called Mainstream Media. I scoff.

An aphorism often attributed to Linus Pauling says that the best way to have good ideas is to have lots of ideas—but of course, it applies equally well to bad ideas. Consider a recent example (details deliberately obfuscated to avoid giving publicity to the sinners): a major newspaper's front-page article about a critical emerging medical topic. A confederacy of blogants, whose subject-matter expertise is equal to their research ability, popped up to critique that paper for quoting from Wikipedia without attribution, and for grossly exaggerating a particular technical aspect of the biological issue.

After a few cycles of mutual back-patting on the part of the nanopundits some nasty reality intervened:

  • a Wikipedia contributor had in fact apparently plagiarized from the mainstream newspaper article, rather than vice versa; and
  • the newspaper (reporter + editors) was in fact more likely correct on the technical issue than were the critics.

In this topic, as far as I can determine, only 2 of 17 comments posted on a major web log were accurate. Caveat: my count is subjective and includes multi-posts from the same individual(s).

Maybe instead of bogosity there should be a new word to describe this new phenomenon. I propose blogosity!

And come to think of it, why should anybody believe this rant either?

(cf. GoodIdeas (20 Jul 1999), BubbleBusters (6 Feb 2002), IntellectualHeimlichManeuver (29 Oct 2002), ExaggeratedCertainty (16 Dec 2002), EssentialNewspaper (24 Mar 2005), ...)

TopicThinking - TopicOrganizations - TopicSociety - TopicHumor - TopicJournalizing - 2005-04-12

(correlates: SecondHand, IncessantBarking, IdeaGardening, ...)