Poll: How's the mix of stories on OpEdNews? Is it over-edited? Under-edited?

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Poll: How's the mix of stories on OpEdNews? Is it over-edited? Under-edited?

President Obama recently expressed openness to a bailout of struggling news organizations. See this story. In so doing, Obama criticized blogs: "I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding,"

What an insult!

You have to wonder whether President Obama's dissatisfaction with blogs isn't at least partly due to the fact that both conservative and progressive blogs have been giving him a hard time recently. Obama doesn't like being criticized, and he may feel that business-oriented "professional" news organizations will be more likely to take it easy on him. The mainstream press typically defers to the powers-that-be.

But President Obama does have a legitimate concern that blogs in general don't fact check their content the way professional news organizations are supposed to.

For sure, conservative blogs fuel the flames of extremism by publishing all sorts of crap about alleged death panels, missing birth certificates, prison camps, and planned government-takeovers of industry.

It is true that anyone can submit an article to a blog like OpEdNews. And the editing is done by volunteer editors, most of whom lack professional training. So, there's less fact-checking than is possible with a professional news organization. Also, there are articles about fringe and alternative topics (such as conspiracy theories, New Age religion, and anti-vaccination crusades). So, it's definitely "buyer beware" on blogs. Don't believe everything you read.

But the same is true for mainstream news! The mainstream news media did a terrible job at fact-checking the propaganda disseminated by the Bush Administration during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Even now lots of news stories and points of view are just suppressed. Without blogs, it's questionable whether the single-payer movement in health care would have gotten as far as it has. (Actually, I sense that mainstream newspapers have improved in recent years. They seem to be doing a decent job of presenting various sides of the health care reform debate. And they are often critical of militarism and corruption. This is not to say that they're good enough.)

And even mainstream newspapers have a horoscope column!

Fact is: Many people don't trust the mainstream news and instead go online to blogs and other progressive sites for their news needs.

Besides, stories that are headlined on OpEdNews go through additional editing and vetting by senior editors, most of whom do have significant writing and editing experience. Most stories on fringe topics aren't front-paged.

Blogs like OpEdNews do publish some original material by big-name pundits and writers, and blogs do re-publish stories from other websites of various sorts -- both from other progressive sites and from the websites of mainstream publications (like the New York Times and The Nation).

Participants in rallies, marches, and demonstrations sometimes post first-person accounts to OpEdNews. The mainstream news media often don't even bother covering such events. Many bloggers are active activists and have intimate insight into the issues and people involved in the real stories.

So, blogs can get facts (the "News" part of OpEdNews) from inside scoops, as well as from other sources, including mainstream news.

As for opinions (the "Op" part of OpEdNews), any educated person can have an opinion! Often, it's the quirky, passionate, clever opinion pieces that are the most interesting on OpEdNews.

Given the low-budget, all-volunteer nature of blogs like OpEdNews, they perform a useful function.

Journalism needs a balance between "mainstream" and "alternative." If a newspaper is too concerned about appearing mainstream, it will merely repeat the conventional, government line and it will miss the up-and-coming paradigm shift. (Some of the so-called "conspiracy theories" may be onto something.) The civil rights movement never would have succeeded were it not for the revolution in public opinion that required rejection of the mainstream view. On the other hand, if a blog prints only conspiracy theories, they'll go off the deep end.

In other words, blogs push the envelope of the news, giving voice to alternative and down-trodden viewpoints. Blogs thereby serve a useful function. The trick is to find a good balance between mainstream and alternative. Too much editing is as bad as too little editing.

Which leads me to the poll question: How's the mix of stories on OpEdNews? Is it over-edited? Under-edited?

OpEdNews has a good mix now of alternative and mainstream points of view.
       26% from 9 votes  
OpEdNews is too conservative: it needs to give voice to more alternative and fringe views.
       15% from 5 votes  
OpEdNews publishes too much fringe stuff like New Age stories and conspiracy theories.
       9% from 3 votes  
OpEdNews is a mixed bag and needs better editing and better tools to help readers choose.
       21% from 7 votes  
Other (please explain in the comments).
       29% from 10 votes  

    34 votes    Vote               View Demographics Cross-Tab Results

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DFA organizer, Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, writer, and programmer. My op-ed pieces have appeared in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and elsewhere. See and for my writing, my (more...)
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are hardly the main source of opposition and criti... by John Sanchez Jr. on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 1:20:31 PM
Why do you say that many of the best blogs " (Huff... by Don Smith on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 1:34:34 PM
their correspondents are all over the television b... by John Sanchez Jr. on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 5:48:40 PM
Overall, I think there's a good mix right now. But... by P. Orin Zack on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 1:56:24 PM
Your idea is appropriate for SOME (a very few) art... by Don Smith on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 4:40:55 PM
Mainstream corporate media is like any other Golde... by gone on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 3:58:13 PM
Your comment has a lol ambiguity. It could either ... by Don Smith on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 4:43:57 PM
say.... by Steven Leser on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 4:45:57 PM
Ever since the rudest of the tin-foilers were sent... by J. Edward Tremlett on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 5:44:41 PM
I agree. Fact-checking is too difficult for most a... by Don Smith on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 6:07:50 PM
I was referring to the persons who were jettisoned... by J. Edward Tremlett on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 9:47:07 PM
Which purge, Edward? Do you remember Richard Volaa... by GLloyd Rowsey on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 8:53:28 AM
"And someonewhose name I forget was purged about 1... by J. Edward Tremlett on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 9:17:29 PM
OpEdNews is a valuable, even indispensible, source... by Peter Duveen on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 6:26:28 PM
Having a section that summarizes the days news wou... by Don Smith on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 9:04:53 PM
threaten commenters with banning if they challenge... by Stanimal on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 8:05:12 PM
" Opednews favors certain autho... by J. Edward Tremlett on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 9:51:42 PM
says Reagan deficits "Didn't Matter" or created a ... by Stanimal on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 10:56:49 PM
thanks for clearing that up : ) ... by J. Edward Tremlett on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 11:12:31 PM
and you misrepresent what I have said in the past.... by Steven Leser on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 10:10:01 PM
you have said in your previous articles and commen... by Stanimal on Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009 at 12:24:37 AM
That description (honest)apparently excludes you. ... by Steven Leser on Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009 at 11:27:00 AM
I'm just mearly pointing out you don't have a clue... by Stanimal on Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009 at 2:24:20 PM
And I think your comparisons to Mr. M and Jersey g... by Steven Leser on Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009 at 3:44:01 PM
have claimed, or that Osama Bin Laden did either. ... by Stanimal on Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009 at 6:22:39 PM
So you do realize I accuse Osama bin Laden and Al ... by Steven Leser on Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009 at 11:30:03 PM
You said Afghanistan and nothing aboot Osma bin la... by Stanimal on Thursday, Oct 1, 2009 at 4:52:48 AM
American bloggers would do a better job if they co... by Jason Paz on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 3:22:04 AM
Speaking as a Senior Editor, and someone who proce... by Scott Baker on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 4:04:42 AM
As a 9/11 truther and one who feels our country's ... by Nick van Nes on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 7:49:08 AM
OEN is both over-edited and under-edited. It is mu... by GLloyd Rowsey on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 8:17:18 AM
At the end of the day any mainstream source that s... by Benadrit on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 10:25:48 AM
I am proud to report that I can find fault in ever... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 11:32:54 AM
Oh, but you do support this site with the fruits o... by Don Smith on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 12:59:58 PM
I write the Obama Chronicles here on OpedNews, ea... by Robert Arend on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 1:35:07 PM
site was more interesting when Mr.M, jersey girl, ... by sommers on Thursday, Oct 1, 2009 at 11:46:45 AM
those mentioned above, also Charles Sullivan and h... by Daniel Geery on Sunday, Oct 11, 2009 at 12:12:04 PM

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