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Media: Band Of Bloggers

A recent article in Politico suggested that once autonomous bloggers are slowly losing their independence from the Washington establishment.

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It may well be so. However the more immediate problem in my experience is the tendency to hew too closely too each other.

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Latest example: none of these popular policy blogs has taken note of the controversy surrounding Education Sector's much-altered charter schools report that broke more than two weeks ago - not even to denounce it as a non-issue.

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None.ScreenHunter_03 Dec. 11 13.50

The topic is right in their wheelhouse, and yet, nothing. 

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What use are bloggers to us if they get so clubby that they won't take each other on in any meaningful way? 

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Isn't that why we wanted to get rid of the mainstream media?


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I agree. Not only are few education blogs dealing with the controversy over the two drafts, hardly any are acknowledging the official report. I generally don't go in for conspiracy theories, but this is just strange. The report has serious implications.

good point, claus --

at first i thought that maybe it was just the blogs that are personally/socially connected to (andy (yglesias, flypaper)

but then when there was nothing from tapped, mother jones, slate etc. i got stumped.


Perhaps they're not commenting because the "serious implications" in the official report are--Mark Dean Millot's demented "analysis" notwithstanding--essentially the same as those in Toch's earlier draft. Either that or there's a massive conspiracy of silence among various tangentially related bloggers and journalists, that could be it too.

Daniel, as you seem to imply, the conspiracy theories don't wash. Of course they don't. And I agree with you that many of the implications in the official report are the same as those in the original. But they are serious implications. So why isn't anyone writing about the official report?

That report explicitly recommends that the administration dial back expectations for charter school growth by leading CMOs. Isn't that a big deal? Maybe even a medium-sized deal worthy of mention beyond EdWeek? I'm not even asking that anyone cover the draft controversy, which might seem arcane to most readers.

I don't believe in conspiracy theories so, like Alexander, I'm stumped.


Partly because Alexander's flogging of the "controversy" has obscured the report's findings. He, Millot and others have been writing as if the official version is a pro-charter whitewash. That leaves people thinking that this is an unresolvable he-said / they-said situation: Toch finding problems with CMOs that Ed Sector covered up. In fact, as you note, both versions arrive at the same conclusions, which isn't surprising since one is essentially just a shorter version of the other. But admitting that would undermine the "controversy" story, which is what Alexander and Ed Week want to write about. It's the difference between gossip and real journalism.

daniel --

thanks for your comments.

we may disagree about whether there's anything there worth talking about, or the degree to which these bloggers and news outlets watch each other. these are the sites that a story like this would, normally, bubble up. these are bloggers who have in the past paid occasional or even regular attention to think tank and education policy issues like this.

however, i'm not particular about what gets covered, or whether those who cover it agree with me or not. cover the controversy, cover the report findings, cover the larger question of think tank research, cover the challenges facing education sector. cover the "flogging" of the controversy by me and dean. just cover it.

-- alexander

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