Thursday, August 20, 2009

Commentators Use Mike Rizzo Situation To Blast Bloggers

As I was listening to the post-game show on the radio last night as I was coming home from the Nationals game and one of the commentators mentioned that there were some things he didn't like about what the internet has done to reporting. Essentially, he was arguing that the internet had created an environment where people were in such a rush to be the first to report the news that they sometimes didn't get all their facts straight.

The immediate reason for bringing up the topic of discussion was the fact that yahoo news had reported that Mike Rizzo wouldn't become the full-time GM of the Washington Nationals despite the role he had played in acquiring some great players like Nyjer Morgan and helping to strengthen our bullpen. Yahoo even went as far as saying that Jerry Dipoto would probably be given the job within 24 hours. Of course today's press conference announcing that Mike Rizzo would officially become the full-time GM of the Nats proves that Yahoo's story was incorrect.

This isn't the first time that I've heard baseball commentators rail against bloggers or internet reporting and I imagine it won't be the last. Everytime there's a situation like this it seems like commentators like to take it out of context and forget about all the work that bloggers do to rally support around certain issues (or in this case, a team). I'm used to hearing people complain about bloggers, however, as there are some members of the political establishment who complain about political bloggers anytime one of them raises concerns about a candidate or writes an analysis that they disagree with.

The lesson that I think this situation illustrates is that you cannot take one person and automatically use them as an example of an entire community. In regards to the Nationals' GM, most bloggers didn't automatically accept Yahoo's story as absolute fact and used the situation as an opportunity to rally support around Mike Rizzo. One might even argue that their action was part of the reason he got the "Acting" label removed now instead of during the off season, which I think many people would agree is a good thing since Rizzo is well deserving of the job. The same thing can be said about the political blogging community. There are some people who might simply go with a story without doing fact checking, but the vast majority of us use all the information available and use that for the basis of what we write about.

With all that being said, I want to hear from you. Do you think blogging and reporting on the internet has created a situation that is harmful, one which promotes productive discussion and the spread of useful information, or something in between.

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