David Foster Wallace describes the phenomenon: "the authority and influence of journalism without the stodgy constraints of fairness, objectivity, and responsibility that make trying to tell the truth such a drag for everyone involved."
Unleashed operates like this: Post a press release. Count comments. Repeat. "What do you think -- is PETA right on or out of line?" I know fourteen-year-olds who can track down facts and ask sharper questions than these people. Blogging doesn't relieve you of the responsibility to be honest and knowledgeable about a subject. Blogging means you should be more honest and more knowledgeable.
Is Unleashed the worst blog on earth? It's quite possibly the worst blog published under the aegis of a major newspaper, or what used to be a major newspaper. I suspect the bloggers are paid per comment and poked with sharp sticks for attempting what reporters in the old days called "research." They are that fact-averse.
[I]t seems that the approach is to do one-source, non-critical stories. If anything, the approach to blunting this seems to be to do a follow up story that provides the same level of credulity and obsequiousness to the opposing view a day or two later.Can you imagine Jim Murray as an Unleashed blogger? OMG, I have to go scrub my brain with bleach now. Rest in peace, L.A. Times. I knew you when you were a real newspaper [weeps].
Efforts at synthesizing information, critical analysis, and good old fashioned truth squadding are down the toilet...