Sunday, July 03, 2005


Delegitimizing bloggers, part 2

If you didn't have a reason to dislike Garry Trudeau before, now is your chance.

The comic strip seen above is another case of a mainstream elitist trying to tear down bloggers and delegitimize us. As I previously wrote, "Journalism, as a whole, has seen the greatest changes out of any industry that comes to mind, as the electronic age has allowed for information to be streamed at the speed of light. At the same time, anyone can publish on the internet, which decreased the validity of information being offered. The Los Angeles Times, which has earned the title of a left-wing attack machine, comes to mind when thinking of outlets that run a high probability of releasing articles that are a mix of fact and opinion. With writers such as Barbara Demick, who complied the pro-North Korea piece, "North Korea, Without the Rancor," give a horrible name to the Times, who stays middle-of-the-road, only to be thrown to the far-left by articles such as that, and agenda-driven journalists such as Demick." Mainstream news sources have earned the right, by shear age and longevity alone, to be taken seriously by the public. Many journalists are upstanding information distributors who report on what they see, although their stories are stuck in the back pages, only to be aced by stories that should appear in the op/ed section, if not the funny pages, that are written with pure allegation and sourced from a rumor mill.

Which brings us back to Trudeau. His comic strip appears in most major newspapers, and has taken a decidedly left-wing approach to the world. When he's not trashing anything right-of-communist, he's taking a stab at the U.S. military, or in his newest strip (seen here), throwing tomotoes at bloggers. He's entitled to his opinion, and I'm not going to mark him for that, but what sets me on fire is the fact that he is trying to delegitimize a form of information distribution that he views as being a possible threat to his base of operations. Trudeau makes a living by offering opinion that cannot be countered in any public forum, due to the fact that he spreads his opinion through alter-egos in comic strips. Unless someone takes the time to create a comic strip, there is no level playing field to counter the attacks, and assaulting Trudeau via columns --- or even blogs --- only makes the message that is conveyed seem as juvenile as the notion he put forth.

Trudeau's character in the strip I've been talking about calls bloggers "angry, semi-employed losers who are too untalented or too lazy to get real jobs in journalism." He then goes on to call the readers of blogs "crackpots" and insinuates that they eat cat food, in which he asked the interviewee in the strip, a blogger, "So what's your favorite flavor of cat food?" By the end of the strip you realize that Trudeau isn't trying to make a valid point about bloggers that holds any truth in reality, but that he's trying to direct the opinions of his readers to dislike bloggers by using smear tactics.

What we have to realize is that people like Trudeau aren't going to go away, and regardless of how large the readership of a blog gets, the naysayers will assume that it's a fad waiting to die. This applies in a major way to those who fear the growth of blogs, because every dollar spent on advertising in the pages of blogs is another dollars taken away from traditional sources. Trudeau relies on the synidication of his strip in order to make money, as well as the small writing and television ventures he is pursuing. Advertising effects him in a direct way, although the rise of blogging seems to have hit him in more of a personal way than a fiscal way. He talks about how we're "semi-employed losers" who are "too lazy" to get jobs in journalism, which is not only untrue, but completely misses the attributes associated with being a blogger. As bloggers, we retain the ability to have jobs, most of them being pretty good jobs, while divulging our opinions to as many readers we can. We have a form of income that allow us to live comfortably, while taking care of our families, and having some extra time to put together meaningful columns.

I'll be the first to tell you that by my estimates, only 15 - 20% of bloggers look at blogging as a form of information distribution relevant to local, national, or international news, while the rest use their blogs to post pictures of their family, or talk about their day at school. Some, like myself, use blogs to distribute specialized information. Trudeau creates fiction that mocks reality, not in a funny way, but in a way that makes most turn away with a sour look on their face from the sheer lack of respect [for people of all walks of life] exuded by the comic itself. Trudeau is no better than the so-called artists who pay bums to beat each other within an inch of their lives and then claim it is for "artistic purposes." I'm sure the argument can be waged for an endless number of years as to who holds the moral high ground, and I'm not sure if either medium does, but it's safe to assume that most of us in the blogosphere are not lazy, lacking employment, or filled with enough anger that we can rival Saddam Hussein. The same cannot be said for Garry Trudeau, who seems to take out his anger on whoever he believes will not feel the need to fight back against a comic book character.

UPDATE --- 7/4/05 --- 10:25 PM PST: I've been out of town all weekend, but it seems that I've been linked by every major blog around the globe. I promise you all that I will respond to each and every e-mail and comment. Thank's for reading!

UPDATE --- 7/4/05 --- 10:45 PM PST: Welcome Instapundit readers! Please feel free to browse around, kick your feet up, and make this your home away from home. The same goes readers from The Volokh Conspiracy, one of the other great legal blogs.

UPDATE --- 7/4/05 --- 11:10 PM PST: Chris Muir, creator of the Day by Day cartoon series, fires back at Trudeau for his stab at bloggers, as seen here.

UPDATE --- 7/5/05 --- 1:24 PM PST: I incorrectly wrote Trudeau's first name by only using one "r," even though it has two. It has now been corrected throughout the post.

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