While I was off having a great time in Seattle… don’t miss the new Rem Koolhaas library, one of the most extraordinary modern buildings anywhere… two friends of mine, Hugh Hewitt and Matt Welch, were having at it on line. While Matt scored some minor points about a Hugh article on “Oompa-Loompagate,” the theme of Welch’s piece–that bloggers too are subject to bias and potential factual inaccuracies–seems so banal as not to be worth saying. And in the area of factual inaccuracies that count, ones that last for longer than a few minutes, I think he is… well… inaccurate. Bloggers–at least those with sizable audiences–are subject to more editing and fact-checking than virtually any mainstream media journalist. I haven’t written for The New Yorker (most notorious for its fact-checking), but I have written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The San Francisco Chronicle–among others–and received nowhere near the amount of editing I get on here. I make a factual error on this blog and I am often corrected within minutes. No MSM outlet could afford the number of instant (unpaid) editors bloggers have.
I wouldn’t doubt that Matt has had a similar experience, so I don’t quite get what his beef with Hugh is. Which reminds me that I hadn’t yet purchased Hugh’s book, Blog. I do have an excuse. I am doing all my reading for the mainstream media at the moment, as a judge in the mystery/thriller category for the Los Angeles Times Book Awards, and won’t be getting to any non-genre books until February, alas. Still, I clicked the buy button over at Amazon. I’m sure you’ll want to too. (And, yes, I’ll probably sneak a look as soon as it comes. There’s nothing like having to read one thing to make you read another.)