Wednesday, October 24, 2007

From a Desert Morning News blog to a blog - reporter's and politician's hate them.

On Oct 25 (Thursday evening) there will be a public forum on taxes sponsored by the Davis County Democratic Party, 7 p.m. in the County Commission Chambers, Memorial County Courthouse, 28 E. State St, Farmington. The public is invited.

Ronald Mortensen of has been asked to give a presentation at this forum. If you want a ride give me (D-Bell) a call at 745-1419.


It has been fascinating to listen to fellow journalists or politicians anytime someone dares bring up news or newspaper "blogs" such as this one or asked a valid question of a political candidate. You can see them physically stiffen, and then they speak with anger.

"I NEVER read the blogs!" says one Morning News reporter. "That's the stupidest thing the paper has ever done."

A few blocks away, in a conversation with a Tribune reporter regarding a controversial current topic, I asked, "But have your read what your readers are saying about that?""No!" she blurts. "No reporter pays any attention to those."

"A political candidate says indignantly 'I don't reply to anonymous people who don't have the courage to include their own name.', and waddles away from controversy self satisfied and self assured.

Why the emotional reactions? The answer goes back 500 years. Ever since the first printing press was put to work, the publishers owned a true mass medium. According to Marshall McLuhan, a mass medium is one which produces the maximum message and the minimum feedback.

So it was with Guttenberg; so it used to be with newspapers and TV stations.

In the past, only occasional letters to the editor have been published that rebutted a journalist’s or a politician's view of reality. Now, newspapers, broadcasters, politicians and candidates alike have virtually given the public access to the largest press in the world – the Internet. And, it’s on the publisher’s or political candidate's own website, no less.

And that’s what is leaving my journalistic and political friends so uneasy. Now readers and viewers can publicly question, criticize, debate, correct, and castigate journalists and politicians. What’s more, the critiques appear attached directly to the reporter’s, politician's or a political candidate's work (or lack thereof.).

That’s a very uncomfortable experience for someone who has made a living sheltered by the man who buys his ink by the barrel, or "poly", Greek for many, much, excessive..."Tic" bloodsucking mites.

But are the news blogs of any use? In their early days in Utah there was a great deal of abuse of the space given to news consumers. Bloggers love their anonymity, and they abused it to name-call and falsify. I think, however, there is a sea change in the morass of opinions flowing out of the hot topics of the day. The differences of opinion seem to be more on point, and though diametrically opposed, arguments have become more logical and less vitriolic.

So what do reporters and politicians have to fear? Only the points of view that they were not aware of or opinions that contradict their own biases.

After all, doesn’t this new public discussion forum provide what the Supreme Court called a “free and robust debate?” It is simply part of the "democratic principles" our Country is based on.

Hey Councilman Stevenson! Are you listening? Answer the questions please. I identified myself clearly enough. Why did you vote against a resolution of support, while saying you supported us and our efforts to reform property taxation?

D-Bell, aka Minor Machman

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