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Jay Rosen on Journalistic Responsibility and Blogger Ethics

Noted media smart-guy and NYU journalisim professor Jay Rosen’s gotten a fair amount of play in the US political blogs lately by asking some really inventive questions about what the responsibilities of journalistic “fairness” are given the recent scenario where the GOP has tried to entirely discredit entire sectors of the media.

In a follow-up from last week Rosen also (correctly) posits how in trying to adopt some kind of notion of journalistic parity in any wildly asymmetric environment – you actually introduce bias via a false mean.

Normally the ad medium attack, as I call it, is the last refuge of the radical fringe (think Holocaust deniers, conspiracy theorists) which is so surprising to see the extent that it’s starting to come into play south of the 49th parallel this year. It’s closet etymology at best, but I’m pretty sure a case can be made to trace the concept of “media” itself itself back to the Latin “interventus” (to intervene / to mediate), and as any good mediator would tell you – one has to have at least a ballpark frame of reference for any meaningful dialogue between two parties. If I’ve, say, listed my house for $100,000 and a buyer has offered me $1 – fair reporting of that story would not be that a reasonable value for the house would be $50,000.

By the same token when one party argues about the specifics of coverage and the other says that the New York Times is “not a journalistic organization… it is 150% in the tank for Barack Obama”, giving equal consideration to both sides is a mugs game.

That’s all (somewhat) old news. What’s interesting from a global standpoint (even if one has no interest in American politics) is that such a situation could only exist with enough of a plurality of media options operating entirely independently of each other that a reasonable political/commercial/corporate strategy can now involve actively disenfranchising large sectors of the mass media.

Which brings me to what I really wanted to share, which is this really excellent essay on the relationship between closed (professional journalists) and open (bloggers) editorial systems, and the different ethical and validation processes faced by each. A really good meaty read, with lots of great links (especially interesting to me was this interesting little YouTube video on