The Globe & Mail’s Bruce Dowbiggin takes a dim view of the Vancouver Canucks’ pledge to issue media credentials to bloggers, contending that “‘blogger’” has come to be synonymous for bending the rules on sourcing or taking liberties with research.” Funny, I had no idea Andrew Breitbart was a hockey blogger.
Some feel that the threat of pulling credentials should suffice in keeping bloggers in line. Others, who note the lack of sourced material and accountability in many blogs, feel that more needs to be done. After all, if you sue a blogger for slander and win, what can you get? The person™s computer? The lack of risk and absence of assets as compensation makes pursuing a blogger moot. Hit-and-run has been the tactic of many blogs floating on the edge of respectability.
Usual Suspects feels that if a blogger wants a place in a press box or dressing room environment there should be something more tangible at stake – say, a bond of $10,000 that a blogger would lose should a court or arbitrator find he or she broke professional standards or libel laws. Such a policy would sort out the valuable from the voluble in short order.
So would obliging bloggers to face their subjects from time to time. Taking shots at public figures from the grassy knoll and then sneaking away promotes a Dutch courage among many bloggers. It™s a point of honour for most MSM to show up after a tough column and let the subject have his say in person. Having to look Roberto Luongo or Dion Phaneuf in the eye after a critical column about them might produce some sober second thought amongst the bloggos.
Dowbiggin would have you believe that print critics make a habit of confronting their subjects face to face, much as the use of anonymous and/or fake sources is solely a blogger offense. I’m not even going to bother to cite the examples to the contrary except to say if you’re gonna act as an advocate on behalf of the print medium, it would be useful if you weren’t totally full of shit for a living. And there’s a bit of a disconnect here ; Dowbiggin argues that bloggers should be “obliged to face their subjects from time to time”, yet issuing media credentials is precisely what that might accomplish in some instances.