I've never met The Washington Post's Paul Farhi, but now that he's waded into the debate about the future of media with his argument that newspapers should charge for online content or keep material off the web and put their emphasis on print, I've been paying a bit of attention to what he's writing.
He's obviously one smart guy. But his latest chat on WashingtonPost.com raises serious questions about his judgment. One thing a good newspaper reporter doesn't do is make sweeping generalizations. So what does Farhi do? Read the following exchange from the chat to hear his view about bloggers.
Re: Bloggers: Why aren't bloggers more interested in helping newspapers make a go of it on-line? If we lose the big newspapers, what will they aggregate and/or comment on? I mean, CakeWrecks will probably still be in business, but anyone whose subject is current events will suffer greatly with no original material to work with.
Paul Farhi: I generally agree with you, although sadly, newspapers have cut back so much that they are providing less and less original material all the time. I can't imagine a world (or an internet) without the raw factual material that newspapers provide every day, but I guess the bloggers don't really care about any of that. They're mostly about themselves and their opinions, with little thought given to where they're getting their basic facts.
Come on, Paul.
Most newspaper newsrooms today are full of bloggers. And there are thousands of bloggers producing original content of value. Let's replace bloggers with the word "Democrats" and see how his thinking sounds. "I guess the Democrats don't really care about any of that. They're mostly about themselves and their opinions." Or how about Jews: "I guess the Jews don't really care about any of that. They're mostly about themselves and their opinions."
I hope I don't need to go any further to show the absurdity of Farhi's assertions about bloggers. Newspaper types aren't going to get anywhere by resorting to the very kind of writing they bemoan on the Internet.