Saturday, January 22, 2005

If Sarah Boxer Were a Blogger . . .

The other evening on the Iraq the Model Comments Page someone misinterpreted a transitional device used by Patrick at Liberating Iraq and mistakenly concluded that Alaa the Mesopotamian had been killed. As soon as I read that, I went and checked the original text and pointed out the error. So did others like Sheriff Lee C. and Kat from Missouri. The alleged demise of our Alaa was quickly corrected.

We had EYES on the problem right away and this remains one of the strengths of the internet and bloggers and the commenters who mix it up on the comments pages.

(Here is Patrick's original entry. Test your skills. See if you can locate where the misinterpretation occurred.)

That mini-drama over the alleged demise of Alaa the Mesopotamian shows why bloggers and the commenters who follow them can be self-correcting where the Mainstream Media is much less so.

Sarah Boxer, for example, published a hatchet-job on Ali and the ITM brothers and still has not corrected ONE WORD of her article.

If she had posted her piece as a blog entry, other bloggers and commenters would have blasted holes in her argument and swept away her cobwebbed innuendos. As a self-respecting blogger, she would have been forced to respond immediately to the massed criticism.

But she is NOT a blogger. She's just a hit-and-run journalist (in contrast to the many fine journalists we rely upon for reasonable reporting). Her article is printed in the NYTimes dead-wood edition and posted on the NYTimes digital edition.

And it JUST SITS THERE.

No dialogue. No rebuttals and cross-examination. No corrections.

What does the NYTimes do?

It just sits there, knowing that tomorrow is ANOTHER DAY and who's going to remember if they printed CRAP yesterday.

Let Boxer step into the blogosphere and we'll see if she's a genuine heavyweight or just a shadow-boxer.

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Someone might ask, "Who are YOU, Jeffrey from New York, to question Ms. Boxer?"

Good question. I am not a journalist. That is true. But around 25 years ago I graduated with a degree in Classics and English and went on to graduate school for a Master's Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. I have lived outside the US three times and speak a handful of languages. Life experience? Well, I lived in Berlin BEFORE the Wall came down and I walked on the Great Wall of China and looked out on the desert from which the Mongols came. As a committed, professional teacher, every day I am involved in some way with how language works, from the lowest lexical level all the way up to the major rhetorical structures.

So when I, humble blogger, read Ms. Boxer's article, understand that I am bringing a quarter century of expertise to bear on my analysis and evaluation.

And my story, of course, is NOT unique.

Journalists have NO IDEA who they're dealing with now.

UPDATE: Wretchard at Belmont Club has taken up this issue.

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Saturday. 12:15 pm. Normally out my window here in Astoria I can see the whole skyline of Manhattan stretched out. Well, that snow everyone was talking about has just now arrived. Very small flakes descending steadily. No more skyline.

Scrabble anyone?

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A couple weeks ago I researched and wrote up a long entry on the looting of the Iraqi National Museum. The looting, like Groucho Marx's death, was highly exaggerated.

Iraq Antiquities Revisited.

I spent a couple days following a multitude of sources to pin down the truth on this story. Read it. Enjoy.

I would like to see bloggers also fill in the gaps that the Mainstream Media are unwilling to tackle.

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Although Zeyad has become an infrequent blogger these days, you would do yourself a great disservice if you refrained from reading any new entry issued from his corner of the Iraqi Blogosphere. He has consistently offered some of the most levelheaded analysis on Iraq and the multiple tensions that pull on your average Iraqi. His latest examination of the upcoming election is no exception.

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