Tuesday, February 22, 2005

"With great power..."

I have to apologize for the lack of new content on CR over the last couple of weeks. While I have been busy with other things, part of the reason for not posting recently is reticence over the use of the awesome power I wield as a blogger. As revealed in this NYT piece last week, bloggers currently hold in their mortal hands (fingertips?) the authority to arbitrarily destroy the careers of prominent figures in the media. Thinking back to my last post about NYT Ethicist Randy Cohen, I felt a tinge of regret, hoping that Cohen wouldn't suffer too much during his ignominious fall from the pinnacle of his field (whatever that is) into a pitiable state of unemployment and impoverishment, abandoned by his family and friends, made inevitable after my post hit the blogosphere. I imagined him screaming into a payphone, cursing William Safire for his sudden indifference over the dialtone, the columnist having already hung up, then checking the change slot without luck and taking a gulp from a Woolite bottle as he shuffles away from the dangling receiver.

It appears that Cohen is still the Ethicist for the time being, so maybe my reckless exercise will blow over without serious consequences. After all, I don't really wish ill on most of the people I write about on this page. Pressure does appear to be mounting on Harvard President Lawrence Summers after my post about his comments to the NBER conference a couple of weeks ago. Although I won't go on record demanding Summer's resignation (after all, haven't I done enough?) if he does have to go I'd suggest Nelleke Privett, who has done casting for a bunch of movies shown on the Sci-Fi Channel, as a replacement.

As a blogger, I implore my fellows to use our staggering power responsibly. Certainly the discrediting of Eason Jordan and Jeff Gannon (a journalist so thoroughly destroyed by bloggers' inquiries that he has apparently changed his name and entered the adult entertainment industry) will serve as a wake-up call to the media. With the swift and terrible sword of blog-justice hanging over their heads, mainstream journalists will certainly observe common standards of integrity, like always having thorough research behind their statements and getting credentialed. Bloggers can count on the example of their own sterling practice, and the examples made of these malefactors, to straighten out the field as a whole.


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