Friday, June 30, 2006

Politics and blogs

Funny how it is that after I say I'm not going to discuss politics, I always do. But I thought I'd explain in a little more depth about why I don't spend that much time anymore reading liberal or conservative blogs and why I've been shying away, for the most part, from discussing issues in my blog.

The first is a question of time and information. I still read about 6 newspapers a day, but I'm not as well informed as I was even six months ago. It took me forever to figure why everyone was frothing at the mouth at the New York Times, and then I couldn't even muster up the enthusiasm to read the story in question (I got the gist of it from The News Hour on PBS).

The point is, I don't like to talk about things I know nothing about.

Second, bias is evident in liberal and conservative blogs and that annoys me. I don't need to read Daily Kos or Michelle Malkin to know what their spin is going to be. I already know, so why waste my time? There isn't going to be anything original, only spouting the same old same old that their fans and adherents require. I want to be surprised and convinced, and biased forums aren't the place to get an objective view point. I'm not interested in reading what the choir has to say ("Stop triangulating, Hillary! Iraq bad! Marriage for everyone!), and you can only read so many "Bush is good! Questioning the war is unpatriotic! Down with the NY Times!" before you have to wonder, "Do these people have anything else in their playlist?"

To get a clear idea of what's going on, I'd have to read more than six newspapers (and the six I read daily are all US based, and unfortunately, none are from the midwest). A friend of mine was recently talking about the kidnapped Israeli soldier and how there are aspects of the story the western media isn't covering. Which makes sense to me as most of us can't keep straight what's going on in our own towns, let alone untangle the varying details of complex disputes in another country entirely.

The point is, every story is missing some element. You'd have to read an Israeli newspaper to discover what's missing from the story. Then you'd have to read a Syrian paper to get what's missing from the Israeli story. And then something from the UK, perhaps the Financial Times, to get the European view. Eventually, you'd get the whole story, but who has time for all that? Who can keep it all straight in their mind? And for me, as a former journalist, I *need* and *require* all sides and points of view in a story before I feel comfortable putting an opinion down in writing. Once it's in this blog, it's out there, available for people to debate and object to, and I'd better know my stuff. Right now, I don't.

As such, most opinions I currently hold about the current state of the world are probably half-assed at best and I don't want to embarass myself in public. I could fix the inadequacies by reading political blogs, but I'm not interested in parroting the party line. It's that simple.

No comments: