Oh, look, there it is again, the old “parasite” charge leveled by an Old News-Paper Guy against those diabolical bloggers, news aggregators and other horrors of the modern world.
Today it’s Arkansas News Bureau columnist John Brummett, who approvingly quotes on his terrible blog screenwriter David Simon’s assertion from Congressional hearings on the plight of the newspaper business:
Here’s an excerpt from The Washington Post’s coverage: “Though scolding publishers for their ‘martyrology’ and mismanagement, he (Simon) spoke of how ‘aggregating Web sites and bloggers contribute little more than repetition, commentary and froth’ and added: ‘The parasite is slowly killing the host.’ ”
I am proud to contribute parasitic repetition to what he said.
This is a tiresome charge, as well as ridiculously ignorant. And you know, Brummett might have more of a leg to stand on in making this charge if his own employer’s website weren’t such a perfect representation of the very “parasitism” he decries.
For example, go to the Arkansas News Bureau home page and search for, say, “Blanche Lincoln” in the little search field up at top right.
Know what you’ll find on the search results page? A whole bunch of posts lifted in toto from the Arkansas blogging community, including images ripped from the sites. Scroll down and you’ll see full posts from The Arkansas Project, Blake’s Think Tank, The Tolbert Report, the Arkansas Times, et al. They do provide links back to the original sites, but bylines are omitted.
Why, casual readers just might assume that this content was developed by paid employees of the Arkansas News Bureau! They would be wrong.
Seems like John Brummett’s operation is all for this parasitic behavior, but only so long as it’s the big guys sucking the blood of the little guys. “Parasitism for me, but not for thee,” eh, Brummett? Yes, yes, by all means, let’s go with that.
UPDATE: More on this matter in a feisty post from Blake Rutherford at Blake’s Think Tank, which nicely amplifies and expands upon the argument above.