Saturday, May 03, 2008

If you haven't read Jonathan Schwartz's takedown of Jeffry Goldberg, you should, but my favorite moment in Goldberg's rapid disappearance up his own rear is this utterly unselfconscious moment of zen:

I called up Jack Shafer, the dean of global journalism and the future director of the Newseum,.. I complained to Shafer about Haber's dishonesty, but Shafer noted that his dishonesty was not relevant; what mattered was his mediocrity. "What these bloggers don't understand is that if you call the target of your post to get a comment, the target's going to say something really interesting," he said.

It seems to me to be a basic point. Haber's post on my blog would have been more interesting if he actually got me to talk about my reporting. I might have even inadvertently offered him ammunition.

It's one of the mysteries of the blogosphere, why more people don't simply pick up the phone once in a while.

That's right kids. Goldberg actually thinks that he has interesting things to say, and that his reporting is important, but that those things can not be seen from actually reading or reflecting on his reporting. What is really interesting in Goldberg's work and thought can only be revealed "inadvertantly" in a personal communication. This is the apotheosis of the notion of the reporter/pundit as media star. Goldberg actually thinks we should want to know more about him, and not dismiss his work on its own demerits. But he's not the story, he's just a conduit for a story. Either he writes all that he knows, or he writes less than he knows. Those are the only two choices. Neither of these requires deeper inquiry.