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20 years

Monday, February 2, 2009

OpEd Columnists vs. Bloggers, I'm leaning towards Bloggers for Accountability

A recent email and lack of response with a columnist at the LA Times makes me question which type of writer is more accountable, a newspaper columnist or a blogger? For the time being I'm going with the blogospher vs the newspaper-sphere as a better way to share and consider ideas and comments. In essence it's more two way.

Here's the quick story: Joel Stein, a "humor" columnist recently opined that Food Allergies are a yuppie invention http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-stein9-2009jan09,0,3149168.column. He gave one slight nod to those with life threatening allergies. But for the most part he was "shouting fire in a crowded theater." There was no original research and the sources cited were not those recognized by experts who treat the condition. The column basically suggested that people shouldn't take food allergies seriously and may as well serve nuts, peanuts or other foods because most people claiming allergies are either anxious or neurotic.

The LA Times, cut off the comments when they reached a pre-set limit. (God forbid, we should crash the server.) Some of these were rather critical (not nasty) of Mr. Stein. Some reflected his uneducated view. I didn't get my response in on time, so I have no way of knowing if Mr. Stein received the email. I also wrote to the editorial page editor. Again, no response. Last week, I sent Mr. Stein another email after my son unfortunately had an allergic reaction the following weekend that necessitated a trip to the hospital emergency room. No word back. I’m not trying to harass the guy. He's pretty powerful with lots of readers and it would be great if someone like him would at least respond I'm not looking for apologies, but at least acknowledge of message received.

Bloggers, on the other hand, usually do respond, since the vehicle is designed for dialogue and comment. If others are having the discussion through the blog, that's great as well.

Anyone else with a view of blogger vs columnist?

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