by David Safier
This morning's Star carries an op ed by our own Mike Bryan which is an answer to Josh Brodesky's column last Sunday, Speculation, innuendo become cyber-staples of blog world.
First, my thanks to the Star for giving Mike a chance to respond in the paper. Second, my admiration for Mike's excellent piece, both from the standpoint of tone and content.
Here at BfA, we've held back commenting on Brodesky's piece until Mike had a chance to respond in the Star. Now that it's out, let me put down a few thoughts.
I had a 45 minute conversation/interview with Brodesky before he finished his column. He seems like a decent, intelligent guy. But man, is he unequipped to write about the content of blogs!
Brodesky admitted to me, as he mentioned in the column, that he doesn't really read blogs. From the column:
"What you are missing is an understanding of the culture of a blog," Safier said. Maybe so. I don't read many of them.
"I don't read many of them," is something of an understatement. Brodesky doesn't read, or know much about, blogs, period. He showed no recognition when I mentioned Talking Points Memo, for instance, which is the touchstone for a progressive-leaning blog which now has grown into a Blog-plus, with a large staff of journalists who report as well as a number of staffers and others who act as bloggers and columnists. And Brodesky had no idea there are a number of anonymous bloggers writing in Arizona politcal blogs until I told him.
Brodesky says he's too busy to follow blogs. Fine. That's his choice. A poor choice, in my opinion, for a youngish journalist in a quickly evolving journalistic world, but his choice. But he shouldn't write about blogs if he hasn't taken the time to see how they work. That's just foolish. And amateurish. And un-journalistic.
So, the question which occurs to me is, if Brodesky doesn't read blogs, how did he come to pick out a few posts from BfA to write about? He certainly didn't find them on his own. He told me he didn't take time to research the blog. When I told him about some stories I've broken or added to which have actually been picked up by the MSM, he didn't have an inkling.
So how did he get ahold of those 3 or 4 posts by me and AZ Blue Meanie to write about?
Here, I'm going to indulge in the kind of speculation Brodesky criticizes in his column.
I think he either heard people in the newsroom criticizing BfA, or he was given the column topic as an assignment. The Star clearly hates the story about Brewer's possible biopsy for thyroid cancer which I have posted about on numerous occasions, and Brodesky focused on one of those posts. They've given the story minimal coverage but have rushed to write about Brewer's non-denial denials. ("I'm in excellent health. What did you say? Biopsy? No comment. I'm in excellent health.") And current members of the Star staff have been upset about some of the things written about them in the blog, not to mention former staffers.
So my speculation is, someone on staff suggested Brodesky write about blogs, focusing on BfA, or someone on the publisher/editor end gave him the topic as an assignment. If I'm right and Brodesky accepted the suggestion or the assignment to write on a topic he doesn't have enough knowledge to write about in his personal column which is supposed to reflect his personal, but informed, views, that's an embarrassment to him and to the paper.
Yes, this is speculation, but now I'm going to sound like a journalist for a minute. Before Brodesky's column was published, I left a voice message on his Star telephone telling him about my speculation and asking him to respond. As they say in the news biz, Brodesky has not returned my call.
Brodesky has my home phone and my email -- and he has the comments section of the blog. If my speculation is incorrect and Brodesky wants to contact me and set me straight, I would be happy to post a correction. That's what we do here on BfA. We try our damndest to get it right, and when we're told we've gotten it wrong, we post corrections. That's one way we let our readers know they can trust what they read here. They can trust it to be partisan, but factually accurate.