Bloggers, Politics, and a Need for Civility

In recent years the internet has grown larger; more advanced, and has taken on many roles to fulfill people’s needs. One of those needs is opinion and commentary on current issues and events. Bloggers post their views on a news headline or any topic of interest, and readers respond. This is not journalism, however, but it is becoming the key source for news and information. Websites, or blogs, are far and wide in variety, and the quality is questionable. Unlike journalist, a blogger has zero accountability, aside from viewership. Sometimes there’s more venom in a blog than there are facts. The future is unknown for this new medium, but it’s on fire and spreading.

Bloggers have increasingly dictated the tone of political discourse in the younger generation. While most seniors have stuck with their local newspapers for their news, middle age citizens are increasingly joining their younger counter parts in the blogosphere. As a filling the need for opinion. It increases the participation of viewers by allowing them to instantly respond through posting comments to each article.

Traditional journalism still has its place in bringing the news to society, but they’re no longer the sole source. But unlike journalists, blogs are not held back on a leash by editors, or the required multiple source clauses meant to ensure accuracy. As a result, many bloggers miss the importance of factual argument, and initiate in bias argument meant only to prove a preconceived point. Compounding the need for speed is the hectic, never ending 24/7 schedule where only the most updated blog gets noticed. Thoroughly accurate research requires time, leading many blogs to only post a hand full of substantial pieces. Only the clock acts as the editor of accountability.

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How far is too far? In a dangerous time which grows ever more complicated – Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and terrorism in general-, the need for accurate information grows. Where elections are increasingly close and every vote counts, the need for informed citizenry deepens. The character assassinations that fill web pages everyday, only work to inflame emotions.

But is this trend sustainable? People want opinion when times grow complicated. And our times are increasingly more complicated, which is more than enough reason to have facts readily available in a constructive format. Government is hardly ever popular, but are character assassinations the answer to this dissatisfaction? With growing dissatisfaction with the national media, are blogs any better? The answer lies in where the blogosphere is headed. There are a couple directions all this could go: 1. increasingly bias and inaccurate coverage, fueling less understanding and more intolerance, or 2. increasingly more informed coverage, leading to a civil, more responsible political discourse resulting in responsible voting. There’s no other possibility. The internet will always be with us, and so too the bloggers, only the tone is uncertain.

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