Media Professionals At The Fargo Forum Accuse ND Hospitality Association Of Supporting Child Prostitutes
As a blogger, I get a lot of scorn directed my way by mainstream media types. Whether it’s what I write in the posts, or what you people write in the comments, apparently we’re all just a bunch of jerks who ought to leave mass communication to our intellectual betters in the mainstream media.
I don’t spend a lot of time responding to those sort of snide put-downs because they’re usually born of a sort of insecurity in where the mainstream media is heading. The journalists and newspaper editors aren’t the gatekeepers of information any more. They hate that, and they’re lashing out.
But just as a way of rebutting this notion that blogging is somehow an inherently nastier sort of discourse than what we get from the mainstream media, let me point out a couple of examples in the Fargo Forum today.
The paper made the decision to publish a letter to the editor by one Mike Myrhe that accuses Republican House candidate Kevin Cramer of fascism. Mr. Myrhe is certainly entitled to his opinion, but after all the lectures I’ve gotten from mainstream journalists and editors about the “tone” of debate on this blog, it surprises me that a letter like that would get published in the state’s largest newspaper.
Remember, the Fargo Forum is the same newspaper publication that decided to ban commenting on their website because they felt it was too uncivil. But then they print a letter like that.
That’s not the worst of it. Also in today’s paper is an editorial, approved by the paper’s editorial board and penned by opinion editor Jack Zaleski (who recently was a presenter at a symposium on civility in public discourse at the University of North Dakota, no joke), suggesting that the North Dakota Hospitality Association (an industry group representing bars, restaurants and hotels) might approve of child prostitution because they’re opposed to a ballot measure that would expand North Dakota’s smoking bans.
If you disagree with the Forum’s editorial position on smoking bans, you’re in favor of 16-yaer-old prostitutes. That sounds like the sort of leap in logic that might take place in a blog comment section.
But remember, it’s we bloggers who need to learn how to be civil and professional.
I’m not claiming the moral high ground here. I’m a free speech absolutist, and the discourse on this blog admittedly gets pretty rough. I’m just a little tired of the hypocrisy coming from the mainstream media, where they feel they have the right to hurl invective at those they disagree with, then turn around and claim the high ground when it comes to civility and professionalism.
Bunch of hypocrites.