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10/17/2007

'Blog': Not synonymous with 'bullshit'!

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 15-30So we feel like we have no choice but to acknowledge the Matt Lauer/ Larry Craig interview that aired last night. However, we don't want to even discuss the allegations against Craig or the lack of candor we perceive in his denials. Those details have been talked about far too much already, and most of us have a pretty good opinion in our minds about whether or not it's even possible to have a "wide stance" in a stall if your pants are down around your ankles because you are actively pooping. We'll leave it up to you to decide if the senator's explanations and protestations during the interview helped or hurt his case.

What we do want to talk about is the dismissive way that politicians, journalists, and other personalities often respond to blogs and online media outlets. On several occasions during last night's interview, Larry, his wife Suzanne, and even Matt Lauer presented the online community as if it is a wacky, fact-less, Wild West of disinformation. Some examples:

Matt Lauer: When you heard this-- that this report had come out on this blog and that some major media outlets were picking it up, what were you thinking?

Larry Craig: Well, I responded to it by saying-- this is a blog. He has no facts. It is simply not true. Many papers ran that. And that was the end of it. The local daily here did not.
...
Suzanne Craig: This-- the whole thing was so incredibly personal, emotional. And I know what kind of sacrifices the family's made to help him and support him in that. And here's somebody sitting there because there was a blogger that said something. And he's trying to make something of nothing instead of talking about the good things.
...
Matt Lauer: According to the airport police and according to some gay blogs, and here go those blogs again that I know you love so much, this particular bathroom in Northstar Crossing is described as a hot spot for anonymous sexual encounters between gay men. And you had no idea of that?

Oh, those "CRAZY" blogs and their unfiltered information! Because, honestly -- who knows better about transparency and full disclosure than journalists for a major corporation or Washington politicians?

::annoyed eye roll::

Public figures have started responding to blogs in much the same way the Hollywood community has been responding to tabloid newspapers for years and years. They use lines like "Don't believe everything you read" and foster the idea that their cleverly crafted PR is always, 100%, without a doubt more truthful than whatever is being conveyed in a more person-to-person manner. And the American public has largely bought into it. If a celebrity holds one of their sit down and cry interviews with Babs Walters and paints certain claims that have been made against them as lies, rumors, and attacks, then a large percentage of the American public tends to accept their rebuttal. Because again -- we as a society have largely bought into the fallacy that a slick, polished, PR-crafted message always contains more truth.

Now, are we saying that the National Enquirer is a paper of record that Americans should trust with their lives? Absolutely not! But we are saying that celebrity rumors are sometimes true (*And in full disclosure, this writer used to be an entertainment PR man who ran in celeb circles, so I know some of this first and secondhand)

And are we saying that every blog follows high ethical standards and operates in a reasoned and responsible manner? PUH-LEAZE! However, when used properly, the blogging medium can and should be more factual and more policed than even the most well staffed of new operations! It allows for user feedback and comments in ways like no other info source. It allows for the writer to link to transcripts, archival footage (such as Larry Craig's unsolicited denials in the 1982 page scandal), court documents, written testimonies, police records (such as the officer's testimony following Craig's arrest), etc. There do, of course, tend to be political outlooks and personal ideologies that guide the writer's message. But guess what? THAT HAPPENS IN THE MSM AS WELL! It's just that in the blogosphere, those stances tend to be fully disclosed upfront! This leads to a far more "fair and balanced" system of operation, as the non-pretense in regards to the operation's agenda allows the reader to decide for themselves whether they agree or disagree with the facts at hand (rather than having a biased operation present their skewed message as if its nonpartisan and evenhanded).

Larry Craig may be 100% heterosexual, he might have been doing nothing improper in that stall, and all of the allegations against him might be false. However, the fact that this whole story was most readily fostered by the Internet does nothing to negate or weaken the claims! In this changing, err, changed media environment, the online outlets actually have a far greater power to get to the truth on matter like this one than any of our mainstream sources! And as a site that takes extreme pride in getting out pure facts to back up our unapologetically pro-gay stance, we refuse to sit back and let "You can't believe what you read online" become the public figure's new line of defense!

Transcript: Sen. Larry Craig's interview with Matt Lauer [MSNBC]

**MORE: Some excerpts from the chat:

**ALSO: Queerty has their own assement of the Lauer/Craig chat.

Pam Spaulding has info regarding another Craig interview, this one airing last night on Idaho's KTVB

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Your thoughts

Really well written!

Posted by: Tummy Tuck | Jan 6, 2009 7:06:15 AM

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