Friday, April 15, 2005

How Did This Guy Get His Job?

Rick Kaplan, former Illini student and now president of MSNBC, spoke at his alma matter the other day about blogging. Although several of his comments were worthy of discussion, this was the most disturbing comment:
But Kaplan also told the crowd that there were downsides to the popularization of blogging. He said bloggers can act in a mob mentality and may not be accurate in their reports.

"The bloggers' accuracy rates are good for baseball, not for journalists," Kaplan said. "A baseball player can make seven out of 10 at bat and be highly respected. If journalists are only right seven out of 10 times, this would be terrible."

Now, even had he made the correct analogy, his wording showed his ignorance about baseball. You don't "make seven out of 10 at bat" -- whatever that means. But you don't have to be a baseball stud like Masked Mennace to know that anyone consistently getting a base hit in 7 out of 10 at bats would be accused of using steroids tonight on Countdown with Keith Olberman.

So lets get this straight. Nick Kaplan runs a cable news channel that has fewer viewers than some of our favorite blogs, graduated from a school that has never won a basketball national title, and doesn't know anything about baseball except how to screw up analogies to it. Ted Williams is rolling over in his freezer.

Another comment Kaplan made:
Kaplan said bloggers are beginning to get sued because of the content of their postings, which he considered necessary to hold bloggers responsible. "Bloggers have to be accountable for what they say," Kaplan said.

Had the question been about lawsuits against the lamestream media, Kaplan would have said that "they are destructive and go against the vital commitment we have in this country to a free press."