The Pitfalls of the Blogosphere

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The "Gay Sheep" story is a recent example of Internet punditry that caused a much greater stir and circulated worldwide. The blogosphere discovered last summer that a research scientist in Oregon was studying the brains of "gay" rams (male sheep) and erupted in a furor over such questions as whether science should be trying to discover what makes animals (or humans) prefer same-gender sex, whether taxpayer dollars should fund experiments in which animals are slaughtered, and whether the research findings might be used to abort potentially gay human fetuses.

Turns out many of the abecedarian pundits, no matter how well intentioned, got parts of the story wrong. For the record, I oppose animal testing and all the more so when animals are slaughtered for research on non-life-threatening human conditions. No matter the rationale, self-appointed pundits exploded over what turned out to be exaggerated facts and incorrect information.

This brings me back to a point I've made previously: Internet punditry has many strong points. But it lacks at least one element that makes old-fashioned print punditry so vastly superior: editing. Nothing can replace a second set of eyes or a third or fourth rewrite. Writing improves when writers are asked how and where they get her facts and whether this or that point is a bit off the wall. Internet punditry has opened the pipeline but diluted the quality of the product.

More is not always better. But more is what we have.