It infuriates me because, of course, I believe that media criticism is incredibly important and useful but that taking cheap shots on a daily basis is neither productive nor mature. Nothing written over there is in any way constructive or helpful to the journalists on the beat -- nor is it intended to be! -- because the site is so blindly, arrogantly, personally and instinctively disgusted by what's in the R-J that there's no chance that they can say anything remotely viewed as fair.
The vast majority of what I've seen on this site has been overanalysis and out-of-context musings that proscribe the worst motives to even the most banal, unimportant writings about politics in the paper. It is never, ever balanced out with a pat on the back for anything -- is it actually possible that every single writer at the R-J gets everything wrong for hateful reasons every single time? -- and there's never any acknowledgment that the Review-Journal does, in fact, play it very down-the-middle when it comes to positioning of stories and its choice of national news.
Now I know why. The woman behind this site doesn't, uh, actually read the newspaper.
In a triumphant post today that essentially negates credibility for any future commentary if any credibility actually existed to begin with, the site's operator Erin Neff announces she's canceled home delivery of the Review-Journal because...
You get that? She's been running a website dedicated to an allegedly valid critique of the local paper but she doesn't even take the rubberband off it most of the time. So all she knows about are the pieces she opts to read online or that her liberal pals point her to. She has no context whatsoever -- and hasn't for a while -- of the rest of that which makes up a newspaper.
Is it any surprise to see this result there, then?
So a little bit about Erin. She was, for five years, a liberal columnist for the R-J. She took a buyout in 2008. After she did so, she whined to Norm Clarke that she had to leave on principle after the publisher didn't let her re-endorse Barack Obama the day before the election. (It is common for newspapers to stop running endorsements a couple days before an election and that horrible right-wing rag The New York Times doesn't let columnists directly endorse candidates for president at all.) To the paper's credit, they let Norm write the story of the disgruntled ex-columnist and her complaint.
Look, I'm not saying everybody must read the printed version of the local newspaper. I do and will as long as there is one, but that's me. It's fine if people choose to drop their subscriptions and start reading what's available online. That's the way of the world, and that's one reason I've been so intensely critical of the R-J's uterly idiotic Internet approach. If they don't get better at that, they'll be a world of trouble, people will lose their jobs and this community will be less informed.
But. If you're out there writing a blog solely and specifically about a certain publication, you need to read it. All of it. In every format it exists but particularly in print, where a litany of decisions are made that can be judged, put in context and understood.
Otherwise, don't bother. You're not helping anyone and, in fact, you're perpetrating at least as much misinformation as the publication you so hate.