Monday, April 23, 2007

Bloggers on the TeeVee

The Ohio News Network does two Sunday Morning Talking Head News Shows, one out of D.C. called "On the Hill," and one out of Columbus called "Capitol Square." The first half of this week's Capitol Square was on bloggers, and more specifically, Ohio political bloggers. The featured guests included two print journalists, and two well-known denizen of the 'sphere: Matt Naugle of Right Angle Blog and Jill Zimon of Writes Like She Talks.

Going into viewing the show, I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm a fan of WLST and I've never cared much for RAB, so I had some expectations, but I had never seen either of them speak on camera. I also didn't know the format, as the show was basically promo'd as "Hey - Bloggity Blog Blog!" Was this supposed to be Right vs. Left? Pixels vs. Ink? Those are the typical TV frames for blogging stories, and I'm okay with some of that. I've got a side to root for either way.

The way it ended up going down (h/t plunderbund for the youtube link), however, was actually quite disappointing. Mr. Naugle came across as a caricature of a blogger. I've been struggling with how, and even if to write the next sentence. Superficially, he is not an attractive individual and he has a mild speech impediment. It doesn't matter in the 'sphere, but it matters on television. Much more to the point, he made paranoid/angry sounding rants about the 'liberal media' and how the job of bloggers was to report things that the MSM intentionally avoided. He used his platform to blurt out an inflammatory statement about the recreational activities of the son of an elected official. He evaded the questions that that raised about whether there was an ethical line that he would not cross in his writing.

Jill was well prepared, conversant with the issues, and frankly so professional that she seemed much more like one of the panelists than a blogger under glass, leaving Mr. Naugle to carry the 'blogger' flag. Or drag it behind him, as the case may be.

A legitimate question to ask might be: "So what if someone on Capitol Square made bloggers look bad to the Capitol Square audience?" Bloggers either will or will not gain respect from the media and political establishment by working for it post by post, there is little or no point in lobbying and waiting for heads to nod sagely and say "citizen journalism is the future." Even so, there is little or no point in feeding the 'Real Journalism will alway be better than random-social-misfits-writing-on-the-internet' theme that many commentators like to follow.

Jill tried to fight it. I'd like to think that people were paying attention to what she said, but it's hard to divert one's attention from a train wreck.


Joseph said...

Here is a better version of the video

Delco Dem said...

Kudos to "Our Girl Jill". She gets better and better everytime I listen to her. Writing behind a keyboard and sounding brilliant is one thing. But getting in front of a camera and not being a blubbering idiot like her RAB counterpart is quite another.