Friday, February 20, 2009

Mainstream media gets it both ways through the Google News looking glass

I spend a good deal of time doing various searches on Google News and one thing that I have noticed is a blurring of the lines between bona fide mainstream "news results" and the alternative "blog results." Given the mainstream media's penchant for downplaying the impact of blogs on news cycles, that blurring seems a convenience for the MSM and a disadvantage for social media blogs.

Here's an example.  This morning I performed a search on Google News using "Corker." Under the bona fide results blog posts showed up, but only those from MSM blogs, like PiTW, where Jeff Woods calls Bob Corker "a loon" today. No alternative social media showed up, which is fine because my view is that bloggers are not necessarily journalists.  However, when I conducted the blog search for "Corker," not only did mainstream media blogs show up, but conventional news story links outnumbered those of cottage-industry-level bloggers.

This seems rather bizarre and one-sided to me. I'm not expecting bloggers to show up on the news results side.  Hell, I don't even think Woods's "loon" blog post should be hitting on that side. (An aside: in the run-up to January's English Only vote, whenever I did news searches on Eric Crafton, the bona fide side continuously offered up those inane PiTW Photoshops of Eric Crafton as Che, Eric Crafton as Rambo, etc. Why did Google count reporter play time as legitimate news?) But I also do not think that Google is doing bloggers a service by posting mostly mainstream media results on the blog searches. It only allows the mainstream media to continue to assimilate and mute critical blogger culture. Why even bother to distinguish explicitly between bona fide and blogs in Google News when the actual results fail to do so?

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