Thursday, June 29, 2006

Huzzah! Chicago's MSM Bloggers

I have little doubt that someone in the Chicago contingent of the Washington press corps will write something to annoy me by sundown, but I just have to take a moment to post my appreciation of Lynn Sweet of your Chicago Sun-Times and the denizens of The Swamp at your Chicago Tribune for regularly posting raw information on their blogs.

Yesterday, as I watched numerous bloggers pontificate about Sen. Obama's speech about religion and politics, I realized that most were commenting on the media coverage of the speech and not the actual speech itself.

Yes, the same bloggers who cry to high heaven that the main stream media produces biased stories treated the wire service version of the speech, i.e. Obama "chastised" secular Democrats, as gospel truth. Like the prisoners in Plato's cave, those bloggers presumed to fully understand the nature of Sen. Obama's entire speech when they only saw its shadow -- the AP account of the speech.

But some of us, were able to look at the entire speech and place Sen. Obama's remarks about embracing evangelicals into a larger context. And we were able to do that because Lynn Sweet posted the entire speech on her blog. The full text is now available at Sen. Obama's site, but for much of the day Ms. Sweet's blog was the only source for bloggers and others who wanted to see what was behind the press coverage.

And today in The Swamp, Mark Silva has posted the data from a new Los Angeles Tiimes/Bloomberg poll on Mr. Bush's performance and the high price of gasoline.

While some complain about the awkward format created by so many columns of numbers in a blog, I for one am pleased that the raw data is out there for regular citizens to analyze if we chose to. Personally, I would rather post an Obama speech exegisis than delve into the possible meaning poll numbers but this kind of democratization of information is vital and appreciated.

So hats off to the Sun-Times and Tribune D.C. bloggers for this valuable -- but too often unheralded -- service to their readers.

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