Skube Don’t

Shorter LA Times Op-Ed Page

Blogs: All the noise that fits
The hard-line opinions on weblogs are no substitute for the patient fact-finding of reporters.

Above: Pulitzer winner Michael Skube

  • While I don’t have time to read the so-called ‘bloogs,’ I have a little lesson for ranting fact-free partisans like Markos Yglesias and Joshua Marshall Micah: Boys, there’s this little thing that we reporters like to call “doing your homework”…

‘Shorter’ concept created by Daniel Davies and perfected by Elton Beard.

Dep’t of There-He-Said-It-Again: Josh Marshall emailed Skube and found that he hadn’t even read TPM, and claims that an editor inserted the reference into the column. Here’s Ed Cone on Skube’s last attempt, in late 2005, to write about the web bloogs without reading any of them:

I asked him what blogs he had read to prepare for his column. He told me he found that to be a very strange question. “I scanned a bunch of blogs,” he said, but was able to summon only one (Andrew Sullivan’s) by name.

Given his statement that blogs don’t do real journalism, I asked him what he thought about Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo. He remembered Marshall as a magazine writer, but was unfamiliar with his blog, or its new investigative-reporting plan.

I asked him to compare the original reporting model promised by Pajamas Media with the commentary-oriented approach of the Huffington Post. He told me he didn’t know either site.

Since he wanted to talk about the time factor, I asked him if he didn’t find sites like Instapundit convenient ways to gain access to more information in less time. He had heard of Glenn Reynolds, and visited the site. Once.

Perhaps most incredible, he published in the Greensboro paper a column that says, “At local levels, one can imagine bloggers spurring more comprehensive coverage by mainstream media. But we are not there yet.”

He did not know that Greensboro is a hotbed of local blogging, and its paper has received national acclaim (including articles in the New York Times and LA Times) for its interaction with those bloggers. I asked him what he thought of Sandy Carmany’s blog. “Who?,” he said.

But to be rigorously fair to Mr. Skube, he entered into his latest broadside at a disadvantage, having almost certainly never read the above post, either.

Update: Um, that was a joke before, saying ‘Shorter New York Times Op-Ed Section’ — the joke being the making of an egregious error even whilst… Ah, whatever; that conceptual stuff doesn’t always play out.

Dep’t of Fine-Then-Let’s-Call-It-A-Mulligan: Skube also claims, somewhat archly, that the Washington Post won a Pulitzer for its Walter Reed series. Sadly, No. Fellow journalism professor Jay Rosen remarks on this and other details and offers Mr. Skube some wise counsel:

Retire, man. I’m serious. You’re an embarrassment to my profession, to the university where you teach, and to the craft of reporting you claim to defend. It is time for you to quit, as you’ve clearly called it quits on learning— and reporting. Ring this guy up and ask him to go bass fishing or something.

Yow. Of course, since Rosen published that in his on-line bloog journal, Skube will never see it or know who to call to go bass fishing. Hey Skube, it’s Neil Henry!

…Oh fie, he’ll never see us saying that either.


Comments: 28

Incontinentia Buttocks

And it would have worked, too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!


Mr Skube, pwned is not a chess reference.


I wonder who has been chasing us Skube?

“Its Professor Rain teh bloggers!11!!!1


The professor needs to put down his copy of the Weekly Standard, and do some homework of his own.


“Shorter New York Times Op-Ed Page”

erm, LA Times…


The disgrace at Walter Reed, true enough, was first mentioned in a blog, but the full scope of that story could not have been undertaken by a blogger or, for that matter, an Op-Ed columnist, whose interest is in expressing an opinion quickly and pungently. Such a story demanded time, thorough fact-checking and verification and, most of all, perseverance. It’s not something one does as a hobby.

So I guess the bloog-eteers are good for something after all: getting the Real Journalists to do their fucking jobs.


Must be a bitch for these guys to be exposed as lazy, self-serving whores.


I grew interested in politics during the Watergate mess, and to me as I was growing up, journalists were heroes. And now . . .
It’s just sad.


“Shorter New York Times Op-Ed Page”

erm, LA Times…

Erm, I guess that joke didn’t work.


Pulitzer winner…

for criticism, of all things.

Do as Skube say, not as Skube do:

The course also introduces information gathering processes (including interviewing techniques and database search) and styles of media writing.

From the description of his course “Writing and Information Gathering.”


I think this post needs Sideshow Bob vs. the rakes- I usuall save that for Fumento, but I think we can use it here.


On the heels of Gavin’s career-wrecking LIE about the NY Times, lookit Flopping Aces fume that academic political donations go to Democrats:

Yup, it’s all because they are so much smarter than the rest of us.

[Scratching chin]


No, no, I’m right there with this guy. Skube, is it?

His process makes perfect sense to me.

My deal, however, is Cirque du Soleil. Man, I HATE that freakin thing.

Well, no, I’ve never actually gone to see it. Videos or films? No, not really.

But I hear it’s a bunch of creepy people and contortionists and clowns. I don’t like any of that stuff. I’ve heard that some dude wrote a piece about it, said it was boring. Good enough for me.

And this whole thing about “The Lion King”? That’s just crazy. A play about singing animals in the jungle? Gotta be a piece of crap.

No, no, I’ve never seen it. Not the play, not the movie. Soundtrack? Nope. But I talked to a guy once who told me his uncle walked out halfway through the local theater company’s performance of the Lion King in Jackson Hole. Once again, all the data I need to formulate a thoughtful, reasonable opinion.

Next week, we discuss that obscure tradition, Kabuki theater…



The hard-line opinions on weblogs are no substitute for the patient fact-finding of reporters.

What is job security, Alex.


an Op-Ed columnist, whose interest is in expressing an opinion quickly and pungently.

Well, he got that part right, anyway.


12345 is the combination on President Skube’s luggage.

Whether or not blogs will replace newspaper journalism is a long-term question. Certainly, sites like TPM show that it’s conceivable. And, as physical, printed papers continue to die and the entities we call “newspapers” morph into regionally-identified websites (totally inevitable), it’s sort of worth asking the question what the real distinction between blog and paper will be.

But the more immediate question is whether blogs can replace, for free and without any loss of quality, newspaper opinion writing, which is what they set out to do. The answer: yes, they already have, in as spectacular and embarrassing (for the newspaper opinion writers) a fashion as can be imagined.

Hey, I don’t blame Skube and his ilk for being pissed. They work as journalists for a reasonable amount of time, then get to settle down into a well-paid, plum job that consists of cranking out a truly half-assed 500 words every week or so, subject to all the quality control of a midnight take-out order at a truck stop Burger King. Blogs are in the process of putting an end to all this–they proved that America has no need for a salaried opinion class (or at least one that does so little for its money), as we have our own opinions and are willing to give them away. As a result, the artificial economic demand for these writers will soon vanish. Their only possible future as paid writers will be to re-learn how to actually research and write in-depth pieces for magazines (or the websites that magazines become), in short, to do work of value, which of course defeats the whole purpose of becoming a newspaper opinion writer in the first place (a 2-hour work week).

They run behind the barrier of newspaper journalism to prove they’re still relevant, but paid opinion writing isn’t journalism–it’s a retirement plan for journalists. And we don’t need it–at least not in its current outdated and lazy form.


They whould be skeered.

Hell, HTML’s last epic is deserving of the term Journalism. It would look just fine in any weekend political section. except for, you know, the fact that it rips down one of the Very Serious People, and a Conservative to boot.


The hard-line opinions on weblogs are no substitute for the patient fact-finding of reporters.

And, of course, uncompromising fact-finding is exactly what we saw in the lead up to the Iraq War, right? Right?

[cue: crickets]

And of course they got to the bottom of the death of Carlo Giuliani at the G8 protest in Milan, 2001, right? Strong questions for why the police were allowed to employ live ammunition at a political protest? And they certainly reported that the police were taking activists out to remote areas and beating the shit out of them while singing fascist songs? They also must have reported on the fact that the police admitted fabricating evidence to justify its violent attacks on protesters?

[cue: crickets]

Nor did we see them simply accept, at face value, the manipulated timeline for the use of rubber bullets and tear gas during the Battle in Seattle. And, of course, they reported on anarchism competently, rather than claiming that it’s some sort of hierarchy with John Zerzan as the anarchist pope. And they gave a full and fair discussion of the issues involved, rather than writing off the protesters as people concerned about the turtles, right?

[cue: crickets]

And it doesn’t stop there. After all, we had the same commitment to journalistic integrity when the first Gulf War was being planned, right?

[cue: crickets]

And nobody in the mainstream media simply took these expressions of gratitude from the upper-class Panamanians forUS intervention in that country without getting the opinions of the poor and working class in Panama, right?

[cue: crickets]

The media has been worthless for as long as I’ve been alive. Seriously. They had to be dragged kicking and screaming into reporting on Iran-Contra and still managed to bury the lede when it came to reporting on how the CIA was involved in smuggling drugs. I’m 27 right now. That’s almost three decades of failure, perhaps more. And now this arsehole thinks that he should be granted job security because reporters engage in “patient fact-finding”. Sorry, we’ve been there already and you’ve lost that argument.


Hell, HTML’s last epic is deserving of the term Journalism. It would look just fine in any weekend political section. except for, you know, the fact that it rips down one of the Very Serious People, and a Conservative to boot.

It couldn’t get into the weekend political section because of its reliance on linkage. The linkage makes it superior.


Folks interested in Rich Lowry might want to check the Google. HTML’s piece rising.


Wow, Skube is really getting raked over the coals. The dogpile is pretty fun to watch, I have to say.

Way back in the early 90’s, I spent one year in J-school before transferring to the film department with the rest of the freaks and geeks. The main reason was that all the journamalism professors were complete douchebags.

The only thing worse was the broadcast journalism or “BJ” department. Little 20-year old future news anchors, complete with plastic hair.


Wait, a “BJ Department”?

Boy did I go to the wrong school…


kingubu for the win!


One wonders if this alleged Skubie actually exists.

After glancing at his website (Skubie-approved “patient fact-finding”), I saw this painful statement of his heroic life in true journalism:

“After completing the one-year professorship, Skube desired returning to North Carolina and applied to work at Elon University. Skube met with Dean Paul Parson and Brad Hamm and became a new professor for the School of Communications at Elon University beginning in the fall of 2002.”

I’m thinking he’s actually a computer generated program (and not a very good program either). A consortium of newspaper editors probably pays for the website and whichever newspaper has used him most recently has to answer his e-mail.


Elon University? A favorite of crossword puzzle writers, but this is the very first time in more years than I want to admit that I’ve seen any mention of/reference to the institution anywhere but in a crossword. Think I’ll whip off an e-mail to my local kitty litter liner, the L. A. Times, about this ninny. I s’pect Skube doesn’t read e-mail, either. Probably has a flunky to turn the computer on & read it all every morning, Susan Estrich stylee:

Most mornings, my assistant goes through my e-mail before I do, culling out the ones that are simply vicious, vindictive and mean, so I don’t have to see them.
Our rule is that threats get reported to the police, while mere ugliness just gets deleted. But once in a while, I get up early or she gets in late, and I make the mistake of clicking on messages I just shouldn’t see. It ruins the morning, and then some.

Awww. And then some!




MAN what a washed-up jackass. didnt even look at the blogs. let some unknown editor insert them as ‘examples’ under his name. dismisses salon’s groundbreaking journalism on walter reed as a mention by “a blog.” never read it, clueless about tpm’s amazing stuff on the USAtty cluster and the alaskan delegation’s seismic sleaze. not even a hat tip to investigative reporters on web who could take his boxers off without his noticing. gets other facts wrong. dissembles when a distinguished journo like josh marshall calls him out. why don’t these bozos retire from their worthless sinecures in third-rate academe before they electrocute themselves trying to get dial-up for thier Trash-80s.


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