Thursday, March 31, 2005

Quiet down Gary

Happy as we are to see a newspaper article about Jewish blogging which isn't all about Aidel, the body of Gary Rosenblatt's current Jewish Week column is mostly whine, whine, whine.

Gary's target appears to be the JewishWhistleBlower. Money quote:

One of the better known Jewish reporting blogs calls for “accountability and transparency within our institutions and leadership,” a noble goal, indeed. But the “About me” area on the home page where the blogger usually posts some details about him or her self is empty. To demand full disclosure of others without identifying one’s self seems the height of chutzpah and hypocrisy to me.
"Better known?" In which alternative universe is JWB a better known blog?

Anyway, I think Gary is out to lunch on this one. JWB is entitled to his anonymity and to his style. The fact of the matter is that it is not JWB's job to be responsible, or nuanced, or to think about whether his posts are productive or dangerous, or cogent, or even defensible.

Gary's objections are the sort of criticisms one might make of, say, a journalist, someone whose job description includes being responsible about what he says in public. JWB, however, is not a journalist—he is an entertainer. Or maybe it's better to say that he, like all bloggers, is part of a peculiar, modern, and very popular type of news industry, one that manages to enjoy the influence of journalism without the stodgy constraints of fairness, objectivity, and responsibility that make trying to tell the truth such a drag for everyone involved.

Or you could call it atavistic, a throwback. The truth is that what we think of as objectivity in journalism has been a standard since only the 1900s, and mainly in the United States. Have a look at some European dailies sometime.

Furthermore, as Achar suggests in the comment section, only an uninitiated maroon would take seriously the allegations of an anonymous blogger. If JWB wants his stories to carry the weight of grown-up journalism, he'll act like a grown-up journalist.