The October issue of the Philadelphia Magazine is out. I pick it up now and then and this happened to be one of those times. Contrarian Noel Weyrich has a word or two (actually quite a few) to say about the blogosphere's efforts to help solve the LaToyia Figueroa missing person case. He refers to the local bloggers as the Dick Brain Trust (in honor of Richard Cranium). See pages 64-67. It is too new to be online yet so I can't link.
By raising the issue of race, members of the Dick Brain Trust managed to provide their own entertainment for a little while. They briefly got as much media attention as the missing-person case the were trumpeting. In the meantime, poor obscure LaToyia's name finally crossed the lips of Nancy Grace and other cable news demi-gods. Not that it accomplished anything. It didn't help solve LaToyia's murder. But it felt good to the bloggers because the blogosphere is a great big cyberspace circle-jerk.
The big question is why CNN, MSNBC and Fox would roll over for this race-baiting bull. Besides the fact that the race debate provided juicier cable coverage than LaToyia's case by itself, I think that all the Dick Brains out there have cable news running scared. The executives and on-air talent know they are obscenely overpaid for beaming unbelievably dumb stuff into everyone's living room. Now an unpaid band of computer jockeys are making their reputations by pointing it out, however clumsily.
Well, I believe people should say what they think, and certainly Mr. Weyrich has done just that. I happen to disagree with him on a number of points and his language is questionable. A circle-jerk? Are all bloggers male? It is definitely a male-based term. I can think of others words that have a similar meaning that don't carry quite as much baggage. I also question his view that the press attention garnered by bloggers had no effect on the search for LaToyia. He is right that a number of women disappear every year. I think we helped find one of them and the Missing Monday movement may help find more. His view of cable news I can't argue with. And there is no doubt that bloggers, myself included, can be clumsy. It's hard not to be when you are working around job and family concerns.