First, Goldman’s view of conventional media is that it consists of gatekeepers. For instance, T.V stations, Radio stations, newspapers, and magazines, which have print and web-based news sources have regulators who act as gatekeepers. He argues that the gate-keeping or the filtering role must not infringe someone’s freedom of speech. Goldman gives the example of peer-reviewed journals. He notes that peer review is not censorship, but a conventional filtering process that allows for objective reporting. Since the blogosphere is unfiltered, Goldman is skeptical with truthiness of broadcasted information. Goldman’s evaluation of the blogosphere is focused on its role as a source of knowledge. It is important to mention here that Goldman’s view is dependent on the informative nature of journalism at large. Media is charged with the role of informing, providing knowledge to the public. Most importantly, Goldman concentrates on the role of media in the provision of information to the electorate in a democratic society.
On this front, Goldman notes that truthful knowledge is not only intrinsically, but also instrumentally valuable. In his critique, Goldman narrows down to the instrumental value of knowledge associated with blogging; in other words, its influence on people’s voting habits. Goldman advocates an epistemic approach to democracy. In line with this, democracy denotes a process through which society can track the truth about answers to political questions with a higher degree of accuracy and reliability than competing political systems. With respect to the provision of instrumental knowledge on politics, Goldman suggests three flaws of blogging. He contends that it undermines professional journalism, it is a parasite of the conventional media, and unlike conventional journalism, and it lacks balance.
I support the opinion put forward by Goldman. The lack of balance stems from the manner in which blogosphere has been constituted. There are various blogging service providers. These service providers are commercial in nature, allowing many people to use their service in order to generate revenue. Since the blogging services have been commercialized, there is no evidence that the blogosphere will be checked in the near future. In addition, there are no regulators or gate-keepers in the blogosphere when compared with conventional news sources. In line with this, bloggers have no accountability. They can report on political issues with the intention of swaying the electorate to a designated direction for their own benefits. In the US, the influence of the internet is huge; most citizens are accessed to the internet either through their phones or personal computers at home. This phenomenon contradicts Goldman’s view of democracy: epistemic approach to democracy. As noted earlier, this view denotes that a society can track the truth about answers to political questions with a higher degree of accuracy and reliability than competing political systems. However, because of the lack of balance, information broadcasted via blogs lacks reliability.
In addition, blogging undermines professional journalism. As many blogs continue to mushroom, many readers tend to focus on opinions broadcasted on blogs. Consequently, the readership of conventional media has dropped significantly. This development means that people’s access to balanced, reliable political knowledge is limited by these blogs. Although most conventional media have gone online, their authority, access and influence have been dented my thousands of the ‘authority blogs’ that pretend to provide ‘authority opinions’. Another flaw of blogging is that many bloggers have political affiliations and thus provide editorials that seem to benefit their political inclinations. Other bloggers can easily be tipped by political heavyweights to broadcast opinionated editorials to their large audiences with the aim of shaping their voting patterns. This behavior orchestrated by bloggers is what Goldman is referring to as a parasite of the conventional media.
However, David Coady has attempted to oppose the critique put forward by Goldman. With respect to Goldman’s view that blogging undermines conventional journalism, Coaday disputes this notion by stating that bloggers spend a lot of time researching on various topics, unlike their conventional journalists. In addition, Coaday argues that bloggers are more likely to correct errors in their reporting unlike, their conventional counterparts. The arguments put forward by Coaday in defense of blogging are not convincing. Moreover, a host of conventional journalists have been sacked for reporting the truths. This aspect means that even in conventional journalism, there are some instances of unprofessionalism. Likewise, there have been a number of occasions where professional journalists have been sacked for reporting false information. In other words, conventional journalism is not free of bribery. However, when looked at on a broader scale, the margin of error and biased reporting are higher in the blogosphere than in conventional journalism.
In conclusion, this paper has seconded Goldman’s view that blogging has unfiltered information and thus is not good for the society, particularly with respect to voting. In the US, the influence of the internet is huge; most citizens are accessed to the internet either through their phones or personal computers at home. Unfortunately, due to the mushrooming of blogs the American electorate is not accessed to unbiased, reliable political reporting. These setbacks stem from the fact that blogging undermines professional journalism, it is a parasite of the conventional media, and unlike conventional journalism, and it lacks balance. In addition, another flaw of blogging is that many bloggers have political affiliations and thus provide editorials that seem to benefit their political inclinations. Other bloggers can easily be tipped by political heavyweights to broadcast opinionated editorials to their large audiences with the aim of shaping their voting patterns.
Coady, David. An Epistemic defense of the blogosphere. Journal of Applied Philosophy 28, no. 3, (2011): 276-294.
Goldman, A. I. (2008). “A social epistemology of blogging”. Last modified on July 7, 2008. http://fas- philosophy.rutgers.edu/goldman/Social%20Epistemology%20of%20Blogging.pdf.