Sunday, September 03, 2006

 

Wanker of the day: Ted Diadiun

With all the accusations of "invective," our take on "Reader Representative" Ted Diadium of the Estruth affair is that he is acting like a wanker and, once again, blogs touch a raw nerve at the PD.

We think our take on the matter is a little harder than Jill's and BSB's.

First, let's get a couple of things out of the way. We've never been exactly sure what a "Reader's Representative" is, but we assume that the RR is supposedly two fold: 1) act as a go between with the editorial staff and readers, and 2) advocate for the readers point of view with the editorial staff. Now clearly, they could have give him the "ombudsman" title and the PD didn't and we suppose that's no accident, so maybe #2 doesn't apply. And, if it doesn't, he is even more of a wanker for agreeing to become staff apologist.

But even if it is only #1, his lede is pure wankerdom to suggest that somehow blogs stiffle people expressing their opinion. While Ted's been so-so in the past, this debate has surprisingly hit Diadiun's defensiveness reflex spot - and he is about an em-dash away from joining Lee Siegel's "blogofascism" gang.

The second thing to get out of the way is that we like Mark Naymik. We have worked with him on a number of stories and he is, we guess, fair enough. A touch on the Journamalism side, but better than most of the Steno Corps.

With that out of the way, on to our main point: What passes for political "news" in Ohio (arguably, Ohio is catching up with the rest of the nation on this) has changed significantly in the last few years, thanks to the introduction of Astroturfing, push polling, and catch-me-if-you-can outright lying that Bob Bennett and his minions do as a matter of everyday work throughout the center-right strands of the Ohio GOP campaigns.

Does Ted remember Bob Bennett playing rope-a-dope with political writers in 2004 about "massive voter fraud" that never took place. The fact that it never occured didn't stop any political writers from writing about it day-after-day as if it was fact. And the fact that it never occurred apparently hasn't led any political writers, columnists, or editorial writers from writing that Bennett was apparently a lying sack of shit.

And we have right wing think tanks planting phony op-eds in major newpapers (i.e., the Dispatch and Buckeye Institute).

A couple of weeks ago it was a planted Blackwell supporter in Dayton. (And then we flip on the cable and see planted Bush supporters talking to reporters about the great job the White House has done in Katrina.)

And we have a gubernatorial campaign worker apparently hired to create phony email messages.

And the latest is that we have a strategist being hired for a GOP congressional campaign (Sam Dawson for Deb Pryce) whose firm (DMNM) is openly to create phony Astroturf and contribution laudering organizations-laundering.

Now, we have only scratched the surface of the GOP's rope-a-dope antics, but that is exactly what they are. Given this, yes, it is harder to be a journalist these days, and consequently, yes, it is harder to put a daily newspaper with integrity. Yes, they didn't do it to this extent in the old days. Yes, they didn't prepare you for this in j-school. Yes, the internet creates a set of instant critics when you screw up.

But get the hell over it. It's here and it ain't going away. Like it or not, Ted, the world has changed and Ohio has changed and now every person in a political story needs to be vetted. Every person.

Bloggers didn't do that to you. Karl Rove created it. Bob Bennett blessed it, and the PD fell for it. Admit it. And change your procedures. And thank the blogs for creating more interest in your stories than they otherwise would have had.

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