Who Do You Trust? Blogs vs. The New York Times

Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 07:09 PM

In 2002, blogging evangelist Dave Winer made a long bet with New York Times executive Martin Nisenholtz: "In a Google search of five keywords or phrases representing the top five news stories of 2007, weblogs will rank higher than the New York Times' Web site." Today, Associated Press editors and news directors chose the top 10 news stories of the year, which makes it possible to determine who won the bet.

AP's No. 5: Chinese exports

The Times ranks 20th for the Nov. 30 article China Agrees to Remove Certain Export Subsidies. The weblog BloggingStocks ranks 19th for the Dec. 5 entry Chinese exports take off. Winner: Blogs.

AP's No. 4: oil prices

The Times ranks 15th for the Oct. 17 story Record Price of Oil Raises New Fears. The weblog BloggingStocks ranks 42nd for the Dec. 11 entry Is the Price of Oil 'Artificially' High? Winner: Times.

AP's No. 3: Iraq War

The Times ranks 20th for its special section on the war. The weblog Iraq War Today ranks 17th. Winner: Blogs.

AP's No. 2: mortgage crisis

The Times ranks first for the Sept. 2 story Can the Mortgage Crisis Swallow a Town? The user-generated weblog Digg ranks 19th for Monday's entry Top 5 Reasons Why the Mortgage Crisis = Global Warming, which links to a Dec. 17 blog entry on Solve Climate. Winner: Times.

AP's No. 1: Virginia Tech killings

The Times ranks 30th for an April 18 weblog entry, Updates on Virginia Tech, from The Lede: Notes on the News. The user-generated weblog Newsvine ranks ninth for today's weblog entry, Top News Story: Virginia Tech Killings, which is about AP's top 10 stories of 2007. Winner: Blogs.

So Winer wins the bet 3-2, but his premise of blog triumphalism is challenged by the fact that on all five stories, a major U.S. media outlet ranks above the leading weblog in Google search. Also, the results for the top story of the year reflect poorly on both sides.

In the five years since the bet was made, a clear winner did emerge, but it was neither blogs nor the Times.

Wikipedia, which was only one year old in 2002, ranks higher today on four of the five news stories: 12th for Chinese exports, fifth for oil prices, first for the Iraq war, fourth for the mortgage crisis and first for the Virginia Tech killings.

Winer predicted a news environment "changed so thoroughly that informed people will look to amateurs they trust for the information they want." Nisenholtz expected the professional media to remain the authoritative source for "unbiased, accurate, and coherent" information.

Instead, our most trusted source on the biggest news stories of 2007 is a horde of nameless, faceless amateurs who are not required to prove expertise in the subjects they cover.


The idea the the corporate media provides detailed, unbiased news reporting is inaccurate. All media want to get to a story first. All blogs or papers want to out-scoop the others that's the first rule of media. Beyond that it is a fallacy to suggest that corporate MSM does not have an agenda or ideological axe to grind. The major difference between blog-world and old school news is the zany journalistic notion that one can actually write without bias. From the stories that get picked to their prominence ie Front page above the spread or buried in the back. Number of words allowed. Whether the pictures used reflect well or poorly on those portrayed, it's all bias. Blog-world, as Spud affectionally calls it, harbours no such illusions. It's all op-ed and biases are declared, ususally with a degree of pride, so you esentially know wot yer dealing with.

The MSM tried igoring the emergent popwer of blogworld fer a bit in the begining before realising that it was impossible to ignore. There is still a great deal of prejudice on the part of the MSM when refering to blog-world, a tendency to be dismissive or to treat it as a bit of a joke at times. The professional editorialisers, whom Spud calls the "chattering classes" are trying to hold onto their once vaunted superiority with grim determination.

In terms of who Spud trusts more the MSM or blog-world (and Spud definitely includes Wiki in the new or alternate media) it's really a case of "same as it ever was" which is too say one should think fer oneself first and foremost. Run it by yer own personal BS detector and see wot kind reading you come up with and always and Spud means ALWAYS consider the source and wot their natural bias or tendency would be on any given story. Don't just depend on a single source. Look around for counter arguments and try to weigh them all and then come to yer own conclusion. Even then it's important to keep an open mind because new data may be making it's way down the pike that will make you have to re-think all your previously held beliefs on an issue.

The NYT just fer an example has a record of under-reporting things like how often the US and Israel are the only Nay voters at the UN on various issues mostly having to do with the ongoing occupation of Palestine. One practically expects that kinda thing from them at this point. On the link RC posted from Long Bet Spud found this imbedded in the argument.

The New York Times has been publishing individual points of view on the OP ED page for 100 years

Failing to note that it's the editors themselves who pick and chose which points of view are to printed and thus public opinion is more shaped than reflected and all under the guise of being unbiased. Blog-world, of course, is no stranger to this type of tactic. The right wing blogs are notorious fer their revisionist ways where you can post wot you like but if it disagrees with the point they are invested in making it is suddenly yanked w/o a word while posts that support theiur views remain. Spud knows this because Spud has been kicked off of a number of right wing blogs like Little Green Football etc. In the interest of fairness Spud should point out that he's also banned from posting at Kos and the HuffPo so it's not unique to only one side of the aisle. This is why Spud prefers to post at the Drudge Retort because it is one of the few genuine Free Speech sites available to those who would express their political views.

Spud isn't sure he's ever thanked Rogers properly fer that. If not then Spud is offer his most heart felt appreciation at this time.

Yer either the bravest fellow or the most foolish one Spud has ever encountered. Keep up the good work.

Be Well.

The networks ignored Cable news,

Cable news and print media ignored the web and electronic media,

Electronic media ignored the interactive and instantaneous nature of Blog-world,

And everybody takes the power of google for granted.

But, then again, the internet is nothing but a bunch of tubes and they are all getting filled up with junk (mostly porn so I hear) so it won't be around long enough to matter huh?

Ignore the power of the internet at your own risk.

Just ask the print media.

RCADE has made his mark in Blog-World and staked out his claim (there is a story in there somewhere) and indeed as the Tater O Doom points out it does take a bit of bravely to make a stand and put oneself out there like that these days!

We don't really thank the courageous ones like RCADE enough. They who take the time to provide us all a little town hall atmosphere that takes a news story to a whole new level. A place where anyone anywhere can add their perspective to a story.

Blog-world beats the hell out of any single newspaper by itself because Blog-World is ALL newspapers (many sources can be linked to add depth and background to story) and the feedback of the people who read them is enlightening and engaging.

If you are not paying attention to Blog-World then you are not paying attention.

Blog-world is the Earth's water cooler and (practically) anyone can hang out around it and contribute to the banter. Even me.

Mokesema says ...its all good...


a bit of bravely=a bit of bravery!

Only blogs have reported Hillary's terrorist fundraising links, apart from two obscure newspapers. Earlier this month, the Sri Lankan
Ministry of Defence and the Canada Free Press canadafreepress.com reported that one of
Clinton's fundraisers in New Jersey, a U.S. resident who was
associated with a December 12 Clinton fundraising event at the State
Theatre in New Brunswick, New Jersey, was also a fundraiser for the
Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, which the U.S. government has
suspected is a front organization for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam, which is on the U.S. State Department list of Foreign Terrorist
Organizations. The Times of India has reported that the Tamil Tigers
have trained al-Qaieda in the past. I think the Department of Justice
notice relating to the Tigers is a good account of who she is dealing
with: www.fas.org

If the fundraisers were al-qaieda members, the mainstream press would have reported this instantly; since the victims of the Tigers are non-white, Hillary gets a pass from the press. Thank God that at least the Bush administration has been diligent in prosecuting all terrorists, regardless of color. Bush and company deserve much credit in that regard. On the other hand, many people believe that it looks like Hillary's policy regarding the Tamil Tigers is for sale.