Wednesday, May 23

of snark and "objectivity"

The following two question/answer selections are taken from a transcript of a live online chat Liz Garrigan, editor of the alternative Nashville Scene, recently conducted for the Washington Post after they published a piece she wrote on Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson.

Here, she discusses snark and "objectivity" with Post readers. Good things for all alt-paper associates and their audiences, not just journalists, to keep in mind:

Col, Md.: Hey, what was that knock on Al Gore about heated swimming pools? Are you aware that he buys all of his energy from renewable resources (solar, wind)? Tennessee has had this program in place since 2000. Snarky asides by people in positions of "authority" just serve to perpetuate lies like this. You should be above that.

Liz Garrigan: Snarky asides help to pay my bills. I was just making a joke about his substantial energy use, which was in the news recently. Yes, we all know: he mitigates his "carbon footprint."

Washington: On the off chance that you might want to at least appear objective: What do you see as Thompson's weaknesses?

Liz Garrigan: Part of what distinguishes altweeklies from mainstream media is that we don't peddle objectivity (or even think it's possible). We do value fairness and balance but in the context of point of view. But that's another chat.

Thompson's weaknesses are his single Senate term (plus the two years he spent finishing Al Gore's unexpired term), his reputation for being lazy, his two decades of bachelorhood that shouldn't matter but will, a short-term fundraising disadvantage and the inevitable end to the media honeymoon the moment he declares.

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