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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

LV Blogs: Echo Chamber for the Mainstream Media?

Yesterday, I was chastised anonymously in a comment for my shortcomings as a blogger.

"I'm finding the perspective of this blog more and more disingenuous every day. Double standards galore for favored pols, trying to deflect legitimate criticism of those favored pols and community leaders and an unwillingness to even consider that other people just might have it right or offer a more informed perspective.

"Blogs are relevant to politics, but the LV blogs are only relevant to those who care to read them any more. It has become the classic echo chamber form of media.

"And that's a crying shame."

The first paragraph is a shot at my own blogging style while the second slams LV blogs in general. Pardon me for being introspective today, but I'd like to take some time to talk about my blogging "perspective" and whether LV blogs are just empty echo chambers for the mainstream.

I make no apology for my point of view. I do try to inform you, providing details that are either completely independent or that complement what you see in the newspapers and on TV. Let's look at some independent stories that published last week alone. Ken Matthews resigned as campaign manger to Allentown mayoral candidate Tony Phillips. The Trexler Trust diminished $26 million in just one year. Republican House members, including Charlie Dent, shared their views on health care reform. A growing number of properties - possibly a record - is being sold at tax sale in Northampton County. LV legislators, led by Criag Dally, initiated an effort to break the state budget logjam. I sought no approval from any editor or publisher, but simply chose to write about what interests me.

In addition to these independent stories, this blog complemented a few stories from the newspapers and on television. For example, the entire, hour long, conversation between Tony Phillips and "Delores," was posted here. A blog about State Senator Boscola's insistence on ghost voting, supplemented what had already appeared at Capitol Ideas.

I have an arsenal of flipcams, digital recorders, a broken down PC that I put together myself, a fancy laptop that friends gave me as a gift on my birthday, a clipboard donated by Bob Romancheck and lots of pens and paper. But I work alone and often put in long hours, getting by on four or five hours of sleep.

Do I have a point of view? Absolutely. Do I disclose it? Yes. I defend it, too, and sometimes in an ornery way. I'm a miserable bastard. I have no training in journalism and feel my writing is more honest if I just state my opinions. If I were to try to be objective, I would fail. I do spend a lot of time trying to get my facts right, but I'll concede that I tend to minimize the flaws in someone I admire and maximize the shortcomings in someone I despise. So what? Readers here are sophisticated enough to reach their own conclusions.

I'll plead guilty to bias, but that disingenuous label vexes me. By revealing my bias, I think I'm more honest than I would be if I were to try to be objective.

As far as the condemnation of other LV blogs is concerned, all I can say is that readership continues to grow, especially at election time. People are hungry for local political news, and the new media has been pretty good providing stories that are no echo of what you'll see in the MSM. Neighbors of Easton, A-town Fiscal Watchdog (Ken Petrini) , Molovinsky on Allentown, Pamela Varkony's Perspectives, LVCI, News Over Coffee: Nazareth News, Northern Lehigh Valley Logic and, most recently, LV Poliblog, ALL do independent reporting. Many of these blogs have rather intense discussions, which contradicts that echo chamber assertion.

I'll say this to my critic. If you feel that we set such poor examples, why not start a blog and set us straight?


Anonymous said...

I think his point was you have the right to write anything you want. You have a right to be biased and you say so. The rub is you like Limbaugh, Oberman, Hannity and other demagogues really skew the truth more than lean it.

You take a seed of rice and turn it into a full-blown paddy the way theothers do.

If you like the person you do it positively and if you don't like the person you do it negatively.

If someone points out something you don't like you accusse them of being what you claim you are not,rigid and untruthful.

Unless you are the Almighty and sit at the right hand of Angle, even your truth is relative.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, Just got home from work and went to check on the Karoly trial and saw a tiny story in 'The Call' a none up-dated story on 69's web page and a Monday morning story in the Express.It is hard to accept the decline of the Lehigh Valley big 3 news outlets

Anonymous said...

This blog is not so much an echo chamber for the MSM. It's more a megaphone for Obama and Grucela press releases.

It's a reliable way to learn what they want us to think is the latest news.

Anonymous said...

every piece of written word in history has a bias. i'm ok with it, particuloarly since you are honest enough to disclose said bias.

i have noted you have a some-times double standard, but, in light of your disclosed bias, i as an intelligent reader can factor that into the lense with which i view your work.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I've said this many times - I learn from reading blogs. And I appreciate your noting that your average reader is smart enough to figure out what's wheat and what's chaff.

I also look at blogs just like TV and radio - you don't like it? Move on, there's plenty of options out there. But I'd prefer you stay and argue your point, that way we all may learn something.

The Banker

LVCI said...

A few days ago I had called on people to start their own blogs. If a person does, they too will come under fire. It's just the way it is when you put yourself out there.

Anyone who ever attended a baseball or a basketball game knows there's a hell'va lot more umps and refs in the bleachers then on the field or down on the floor.

About the only difference between amateurs and the so-called pros is, they get paid for it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" The rub is you like Limbaugh, Oberman, Hannity and other demagogues really skew the truth more than lean it."

Don't watch/listen to any of these guys. Do sometimes watch Colbert on the PC.

ironpigpen said...

I saw that piece.

My brother will get a kick out of that --- we are a megaphone for maninstream media!

(Big bro tends to have a less than favorable view of MSM)

We just got done ragging on MC for not reporting Andy Tracy's recent Major League exploits for Philadelphia Phillies. First MLB hit in five years, game-deciding RBI for the most prolific player in IronPigs history. Shame on the Morning Call, founding partner of the IronPigs, for the snub.

Where are the Bethlehem Steelers reports?

noel jones said...

Blogs are by nature, biased. They are an opinion-based form of media. Bloggers are not journalists, who are under pressure to remain as neutral as possible and never let their personal opinions be known. What's refreshing about bloggery is that you know you're getting the writer's genuine opinion, as if they are sitting in your living room, telling you what they really think. So to charge that something is a biased blog is an oxymoron. To claim that Bernie's blog is both biased and disingenuous is just a reader contradicting himself. The reason his blog is so popular is because a lot of people in the region are interested in what he has to say. If you don't, then move on.

noel jones said...

"to charge that something is a biased blog is an oxymoron" --my bad--meant to say "is redundant". A "biased, disingenuous blog" would be an oxymoron.

Anonymous said...
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Bernie O'Hare said...

Comments that personally attack someone who posts here will be deleted.

Anonymous said...
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