Last night, while leaving the office and coming down from the caffeine and nicotine buzz that gets me through the day, I felt a slight twinge of regret abouta post I made earlier
about the Sun-Sentinel's coverage of Tami Nantz, a mom in Broward who had started apro-Sarah Palin blog
The point I was trying to make in that post was essentially that someone starting a blogspot account and writing about politics was not, in and of itself, news, and shouldn't be the lead local story in a daily newspaper. Let's not kid ourselves, no one besides The Onion is ever going to print the headline "Area Blogger Tips Election".
Then, I saw Nantz's comments to Bob Norman (who had beat me to making essentially the same argument) where she used that tired "the media is all a bunch of liberal latte sippers" cliche, and proceeded to go off a bit on her and that line of thinking. I wondered if it was a bit hypocritical to say that her blog didn't matter, and then to attack her like it did.
Then, I realized that's the real problem with giving a story like this prominence, as the Sun-Sentinel did. By writing about her the Sentinel elevated her from the status of blog anonymity into a lightning rod for all those frustrated by Sarah Palin's policies and her sudden rise to prominence. They had to know that, and probably expected it. In fact, if I subscribed to Nantz's theory that the media is a bunch of liberal scumbags, I'd be inclined to think that this is what the Sentinel wanted, a cheap laugh at the expense of a random Republican.
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Nantz in turn got savaged on blogs, and received emails that she describes as threats. To her credit she seems like a tough person who can take the criticism and fight back. A true pitbull in lipstick who would make her hero proud. But not every random blogger would be able to withstand the onslaught of personal criticism that stems from an article like that. Not everyone is media savy enough to realize that by agreeing to an interview they would put themselves in that position. It's easy to imagine that a different person in that same situation wouldn't be able to handle the consequences as well as Nantz.
Obviously, if you put something on the internet you have to know that anyone can find it, and that many who do will disagree with you, but it's not right for a large regional media outlet to open them up to criticism from such a wide audience (and conversely, and this goes back to the original argument yesterday, to give those bloggers anymore merit than they deserve).
I'm not trying to pass of responsibility for that twinge of regret to the Sentinel. I blogged what I blogged, take responsibility for it, and to a degree still stand by it. However there were much worse things said about her on other blogs, in blog comments, and apparently all the emails she received. I think she deserves all that internet hate about as much as she did a front page story in the local section. Which is to say, not at all.