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News at the Speed of Light

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Bloggers Criticize Mainstream Journalists

Practicing cheap and dirty politics, playing fast and loose with the facts and even lying: Accusations like these, and worse, have been slung nonstop this year.

The accused, in this case, are not the candidates but the mainstream news media. And the accusers comprise an ever-growing army of Internet writers, many of them partisans, that reaches hundreds of thousands of people a day.

Journalists covering the campaign believe that the intent is often to bully them into caving to a particular point of view. They insist that the efforts have not swayed them in any significant way, though others worry that the criticism could eventually have a chilling effect.

Many of the Internet writers say they have been empowered by the Web to begin serving as a long-needed real-time check on mainstream outlets and reporters who they say wield too much power, sometimes irresponsibly and often with hidden partisan motives.

"The traditional players, including the press, have lost some of the control or exclusive control they used to have," said Jay Rosen, chairman of the journalism department at New York University, who keeps his own Web log, or blog.

But, he added, "I think there's a campaign under way to totally politicize journalism and totally politicize press criticism."

"It's really an attack, not just on the liberal media or press bias--it's an attack on professionalism itself; on the idea that there could be disinterested reporters," he said.
The criticism comes from both sides of the political spectrum and from an array of perspectives: middle-of-the-road independent critics like those at the Columbia Journalism Review; unabashedly partisan blog authors; and even from within the mainstream news media. ABC's political Web site, The Note, frequently critiques individual reporters.

The harshest criticism comes from sites with openly political leanings. More at News.com...

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