blogs, a question

Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 08:35 am
I often encounter "news items" that when attempting to track them down re their content appear to be blogs that cite other blogs that cite other blogs potentially citing a valid source (or not) many of the blogs along the way are titled in such a way as to not reveal that that are blogs and, to add to my confusion, cite credible sources except when on finds the cited credible source it doesn't substantiate the 3 or 4 or 5 or more blogs that have perpetuated the mis/information.

How the hell can you tell if what you're reading is a blog and ergo how can you validate the accuracy of the information?
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Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 08:46 am
Yeah, I know what you mean. It's rough. When I was trying to track stuff down for my job (political stuff), it was positively a hall of mirrors. I'd eventually get to the source material often but yow. (It was a little easier because I was mostly looking for quotes. If it was in quotation marks and from a semi-reputable source, it'd do. Finding actual source material -- rougher. I did find Talking Points Memo useful.)

Just read a fascinating but terrifying article in the New Yorker which isn't directly about this but touches on it:


Pertinent part:

Bloggers carry so much influence that many senators have a young press aide dedicated to the care and feeding of online media. News about, by, and for a tiny kingdom of political obsessives dominates the attention of senators and staff, while stories that might affect their constituents go unreported because their home-state papers can no longer afford to have bureaus in Washington. Dodd, who came to the Senate in 1981 and will leave next January, told me, “I used to have eleven Connecticut newspaper reporters who covered me on a daily basis. I don’t have one today, and haven’t had one in a number of years. Instead, D.C. publications only see me through the prism of conflict.” Lamar Alexander described the effect as “this instant radicalizing of positions to the left and the right.”

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Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 08:56 am
You have correctly put your fingers on one of the problems current on the internet. It is like having one person in a group whisper a sentence to the next and so on, and ending with the last person hearing something entirely different.
Most people, unfortunately, will not trace references to the original source and make a critical assessment of its validity. While I don't have a sure answer, I can suggest the following:
1. Remember that blogs are blogs and anything written therein is suspect until the author proves himself over time.
2. Research independently. Google about something and find a trustworthy source, or the original content of the text itself.

Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 09:27 am
Research independently. Google about something and find a trustworthy source, or the original content of the text itself.
yes, that's what I try to do however I often find the Goggle simply stakes me back to the blog I just read or the the author of the blog without ever mentioning that the source is another blog which in turn is another blog, I most often start by googling the author (if one is listed) of the blog and then trying to google that author also usually taking me back to the blog I am questioning in the first place. In addition some/many of the blogs that have titles/URL's that appear to be legitimate sources.
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 09:46 am
dyslexia wrote:
In addition some/many of the blogs that have titles/URL's that appear to be legitimate sources.

I'm curious what your definition of blog is.

Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 11:44 am
in short (from WIKI) Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs.
My personal difficulty is the lack of clarification as to which is commentary and which is news. In addition I find a difficulty finding original sources for validation of content on many blogs that simply circle endlessly in reference to themselves or to other blogs. I'm pretty sure there are many credible blogs however, I find it more and more difficult to determine the wheat from the chafe so to speak. ie. is the new to be build mosque to be erected ON ground zero or a few blocks away on land currently owned and occupied by Muslims. Some blogs have it one way, some have it the other. Opinion pieces are fine when so identified, not so fine when presented as factual.
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 12:24 pm
I think of blogs as primarily commentary. There may be a piece of new information in the commentary (in that case I hope there is a link to a "mainstream" news website). You probably know by now what sources are mainstream. If the new information has not yet been published in a mainstream source, I wait until it is.

I don't want to forget to mention that Bernie Latham's blog is 100% reliable.
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 03:27 pm
wandeljw, I agree with your evaluation of blogs. Now, the problem comes in, lets say a poster consistently posts blogs because they happen to agree with the content of the blog even though the content is not vetted as to factual accuracy. the poster can debate the factual accuracy or pretend it's not really a blog or simply ignore any challenges while continuing to post more blogs which are consistent with his/her beliefs or, in effect, blame anyone who challenges the authenticity of the posted blogs. I suppose this puts one between a rock and a hard place.
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 04:03 pm
You could always ask the poster to provide a link. That way you can check other web pages belonging to the site and maybe get a better idea as to credibility.

One poster here provided a link to a blog with an innocuous name (something like "Lake Edward News"). After clicking on the link, I looked at other essays on the site. The other bloggers were posting ridiculous conspiracy theories. The website was geared towards amateur historians who wanted to present their latest "research" on politically incorrect topics.
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Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 06:45 pm
Different subject, sort of, but commentary is still expected to be accurate to the facts. Opinion and interpretation may vary, but if the facts also vary, it is a failure.

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