The Perry Mason Effect

I used to watch Perry Mason reruns when I was young. In the US, we expect lawyers to present cases and judges to rule. The collision of opposing views illuminates the issues and provides the information to decide the case. One side wins and the other side loses.

Weblogs take a similar, adversarial approach. We take a position, we advocate that position to the best of our ability, and we expect our readers to review the opposing arguments and adjudicate the decision for themselves. We may win and we may lose, but we rarely change our minds.

I think that Journalists take a more investigative approach. They try to examine the issues from all sides and build a case for the truth. And at their best, they succeed. They illuminate the truth within a cacophony of viewpoints.

Everybody starts with an opinion. I think that webloggers are more likely to discard facts that don’t match their opinions and journalists are more likely to discard opinions that don’t match their facts. As far as I know, Perry Mason never lost. I wonder how many webloggers feel that way?

Series Index at Blogging and Journalism.