% fortune -ae paul murphy

About blogging

I caught an interview on CNN the other day in which the CNN person (whose name I missed) was trying to get blogger Hugh Hewitt to agree that CNN's live coverage of much of the Alito confirmation hearing was fairer than the coverage given those same hearings in the political blogosphere.

Basically the argument was that CNN's coverage gave the public the facts, the appearance, and the reality of the hearings live as they happened - and that you really can't get better than that.

At first I thought the argument compelling - I mean, you watch CNN, and you get to see and hear the reality as it happens. Hewitt, however, said something I thought was even more right (no pun intended), and worth sharing with you.

What he said was that a senator who doesn't understand either the law or the role of the court can make speeches, misconstrue the process, or fail to understand both his own question and the answer without real consequences, but a blogger who doesn't back up what he says with real links to real information, gets called on it by the talkback community and loses his audience almost immediately if he persists.

Basically he said that the interactive nature of the blogging experience coupled with the "wanna be there" attitude of the reader/commentator creates an involved community in a way that no one way medium, like broadcast TV, can.

Hewitt has to justify what he says, a CNN talking head - or a pontifcating senator posturing for the TV cameras - does not. I'm no Hewitt, but the rule applies here: simple statements of belief don't cut it with this audience, and when I'm wrong you guys call me on it.

And you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.

Paul Murphy wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues.