In Sunday's Dispatch, columnist Joe Hallett wrote about Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz and her upcoming book. He had participated in an ethics workshop with Schultz and used that as a hook to discuss the book and Schultz's discusison of political journalism in it. In the course of talking about Schultz and Sherrod, Hallett took a couple grafs to talk junk about blogs:
- On the matter of political blogs, Schultz and I were in lockstep. Their importance is overblown and their readership, although growing, still is a fraction of those readers who rely on newspapers to get their politics.
Little original reporting comes from political blogs. Exceptions in Ohio include rightangleblog.com and its counterpart on the liberal side, buckeyestateblog.com, whose authors at least make an effort to talk with newsmakers. Mostly, though, political blogs are echo chambers for ideologues to comment on and twist what they've read in the morning newspaper or on newspaper blogs such as www.dispatch.com/politics.
Because of the divergence, I emailed her last night. She confirmed my suspicions that Hallett did not accurately convey her views about blogs. She understood the ethics seminar to be off-the-record, but did say that her views expressed at Kent were essentially the same as those expressed at the Press Club. She does not dismiss blogs out of hand, she reads blogs, but she has some misgivings about how people blog.
Sadly, the episode is another example of her criticism of blogs. Hallett's anti-blog mini-rant doesn't quote Schultz. What he does in voice his views and assert that she agrees with him. That should have thrown up a warning flag. Nonetheless, both RAB and DailyKos accepted Hallett's piece as an accurate summary Connie Schultz's views, without reservation. Each then moved on to criticize her, she being a higher-profile target.
(Bryan at BSB mentions her in passing, but correctly directs his criticism solely at Hallett.)
Sadly, Connie Schultz tells me that no other bloggers contacted her for confirmation or clarification of the information in the Hallett piece. So RAB rehashes the outdated "Sherrod vs. the Blogs" tiff, DKos rants at the wrong person and all for the want of sending an email. She deserves better than that from Joe Hallett and from us.