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This morning, I was surprised to hear friend of the blog Craig Calcaterra on WFAN’s Boomer and Carton show. I’ll let Craig tell you more:
So yesterday Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason of 660 WFAN went crazy on me for calling Yankees fans “classless and ignorant” for booing Javy Vazquez on Wednesday. The audio of that is here, beginning at around the nine minute mark. It starts with Carton calling me a “jackass” and it goes downhill from there. Good times!
Always a fan of great theater, I decided to call in to the show this morning. I had no illusions that Carton would change his mind on the matter, and he most certainly did not. But rather than defend the booing on the merits — which I don’t think even he can — he decided to unload on me for being a blogger, not having a journalism background and all of that. Anyone who follows the media very much knows that’s the last refuge of someone with no argument, but there he went anyway. When I told him that Mike Lupica has a journalism background and he sucks he pulled a Francessa on me and hung up. Great theater — and basically what I expected — but telling all the same.
The bolded sentence touched off a discussion on Twitter (thanks to @jaydestro and @craigcalcaterra) about whether being a journalist with a degree gives you more credibility in terms of opining about sports than someone without such a degree. I think this is a very difficult question. On the one hand, these journalists put a lot of time and effort into their profession, and have training in terms of collecting information and then using that information to produce a completed product. On the other hand, they are not actually taught about baseball, such that there is no real reason to believe that they have any sort of innate grasp of the game or any particular insight. Should their credibility extend past reporting, where they obviously have the upper hand due to their training and access, into analysis and editorializing, where all they have are the same observations that any fan could formulate?
I think an argument can be made that a blogger like Craig might have more credibility than a journalist when it comes to opinion-based writing, simply because his opinions alone are what have made his writing career. He started blogging, and the meritocracy that is the internet deemed him worthy of reading, so much so that The Hardball Times and then NBC both brought him into the fold. However, building an online readership can also be done through unchecked rumor-mongering and sensationalism, so having an internet following does not necessarily mean that your analysis is worthy. Without editors and with a lowest common denominator audience always available, blogging can seem like the ungoverned Wild West at times. Furthermore, the lack of access does put bloggers behind reporters in regard to clubhouse matters and the like, such that there are topics where bloggers may be basing their opinions on incomplete information (Of course, if reporters do their jobs properly, outsiders should have all the information they need regardless of their level of access).
Being a blogger, I find this to be one of the more difficult questions to grapple with when writing. As a fan and reader, however, I find that I look to the bloggers for baseball opinions far more frequently than I look to the journalists. My feed reader is a meritocracy, and I simply find the writing by the bloggers that I follow to have more merit in terms of analysis and logical consistency than the output from the beat writers and columnists. In that way, the bloggers have simply earned more credibility in this arena in my eyes. However, I certainly understand the opinion of those who are likely to take the journalists more seriously.
Where do you stand on this issue?
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