Farid at Beltway Boys just put up his interview with Bill Ladson, the Nats beat reporter for MLB.com. The neat part is that Ladson hates me, along with several other worthy bloggers. That's fine. I've come to terms with it. What I haven't yet come to terms with, though, is Farid's sycophantic attitude, his willingness to take Ladson' preposterous claims at face value, and his genuinely insulting generalizations about "bloggers."
Bloggers sometimes assume that we can write what we want with impunity because the only people that read our work are fellow fans who understand they are reading subjective rants, some of which we didn't believe ourselves when we wrote it.Examples please. And not just examples from your writings, Farid. You're calling out "bloggers" here. I'm a blogger, and I assume that I can write with impunity because I'm protected by the First Amendment. And since Farid understands the inner motivations of bloggers, perhaps he can show me the stuff I didn't believe myself when I wrote it.
I'll summarize the next bit: "Ladson whined about some stuff and I agreed with him." Then:
I agreed that this wasn't good reporting - that is - printing assumptions as fact.Like the assumption that we Nats bloggers make stuff up because we don't think Bill Ladson's reading? Seriously not good reporting.
Then we take a long break from the juicy stuff. There are actually some interesting questions and some interesting answers in the middle here. You might want to read the whole thing, even though it's gigantic.
Then Ladson resumes bitching, and Farid resumes enabling.
I assumed that a proficient writer like Bill Ladson wouldn't waste his time reading what hack-reporters like us wrote about the team.You're doing it again, man. If you want to call yourself a "hack-reporter," fine. But keep your insults and your random hyphens away from me. Ladson:
"I do have a problem with some of the bloggers who act like they're in the know, in the locker room, and act like they know everything."Huh. I had an anonymous commenter accuse me of that exact thing a while ago. I'm sure it's a coincidence. It was nonsense then and it's nonsense now.
I can't stand that fact that they get personal.You know what's even worse than that? Anonymous commenters who get personal. But we could be talking about completely different things here, as Ladson has an idiosyncratic definition of "personal." Here's how I look at it, and tell me if you disagree.
- Non-personal: "Bill Ladson's methods of evaluating players are incorrect."
- Personal: "Bill Ladson's methods of evaluating players are incorrect and he is a bad person."
The problem here is that bloggers are like journalists only in that we write words that end up being published somewhere.Yeah, the free exchange of ideas is a real bitch. Why can't the government do something about this?
Unlike the mainstream media (at least those who are honest), we don't have set of rules to follow, we don't have an editor (other than our own common sense) to say, "Dude, that's going too far."Right. And my common sense is doing a fine job. I don't need yours.
Now, I'm not talking specifically about any blog, but in general, we could do a much better job of being fair to those we write about.You should start talking specifically about any blog, because if you don't I'll continue to assume I'm included as a target of all this helpful advice.
To us, talking bad about Ladson or Bowden or Kasten is like talking badly about our sister when she's in the other room. They aren't listening, so it won't hurt them.There's that first person plural pronoun again. Don't tell me what talking bad about any of these guys is like, especially when your simile is so damn weird. I know Ladson reads my blog. I don't care if Bowden or Kasten does. I say the things I say because I belive them and because I can back them up, not because I think I can get approving howls from all the other unscrupulous lying bloggers.
I learned that bloggers have a responsibility to be fair to those they write about.You just now learned that? What were you doing before?
Oh sure, we can haggle all we want about the "who's" and "what's" and "when's" of baseball, but when it comes to reporting, it needs to be fair and it needs to be accurate.Fine. Whatever. I'm not a reporter. If I want a reporter, I'll go to Barry Svrluga.
It's easy to take a swipe at those in the public eye, guys like Ladson and Bowden and Kasten. To us, these are nameless, faceless men, which makes it much easier to be less than fair when writing about them.If they were nameless and faceless, neither I nor anyone else would have any idea who I was making fun of. And as far as being fair, it's not like Bowden didn't sign Cristian Guzman. Or wear tracksuits. Or give fistbumps.
The difference, however, is that they are professionals, and this is how they earn their living. We can disagree with them all we want, and we can even be forceful in how we disagree.Since when does being a professional make you immune to criticism? You ever criticize the President? Well HOW DARE YOU?! He does that for a living.
But getting personal? Nah. That's just no good.
The obvious response is that Farid isn't talking about any criticism, just the personal stuff. But given Ladson's ridiculously self-serving idea of what a personal attack is and Farid's sycophantic willingness to go along with it, it's clear what's meant. You agree with Bill Ladson, dammit, because he knows better than you.
And if that's going to be your attitude, you might as well quit. Farid is exhorting bloggers to stop providing an alternative to the baseball media and start providing fan sites, and I'm grateful beyond belief that the nature of blogging dictates that no one -- not Farid, not Ladson, not anyone -- has any authority over me or my writing.
Related Reading. The Ladson interview and my response to it have caused quite a stir in the sleepy winter Natmosphere.
- Banks of the Anacostia, Capitol Punishment, and Oleanders have difficulty accepting Ladson's mystical theories of player evaluation.
- Econo then thinks about it for a while and gently suggests that Farid's starstruck interactions with a superstar like Ladson may have led him to excess. Plus he yells at Boz, which is always fun.
- Dave at the Triple Play muses, reflects, then reflects musingly on musing reflections. I can't help but picture him strolling along a lake on a crisp autumn evening.