I sent Stampede Blue and 18to88 a copy of an email I sent to Bob Kravitz. When I sent it, I didn't know that KingRichard had not gone on the radio show with Kravitz and Eddie, but I did listen to Deshawn Zombie's interview with Kravitz, and later listened to BigBlueShoe's interview. I mentioned in the email to SB and 18to88 that I didn't listen to KingRichard, and even if he had been on the air I would have chosen not to listen to him, because I don't like his writing.
This is not to diss KingRichard. I think we all deserve our own opinions of people's writing, and I think KingRichard is a little too inflammatory for my taste. That said, I think it's important to note that a reader like myself was able to draw a conclusion about a blogger's style, even though that blogger didn't present a real name. This proves Bob wrong. I don't care if your name is TwinkleToesMcGee455, you may be the most hardcore badass of a writer ever, and we readers have proven that we'll give you a shot, or run you off, depending on your skill, not your name (or lack thereof). Bob doesn't get this.
Anyway, back to my email correspondence with Mr. Kravitz. Here's the thing. He didn't respond to me right away, but DZ did, and 30 minutes after I sent the email 18to88 had published it on their site. How's that for accessibility and accountability to your readers, huh? Eventually, Bob got back to me, and he's sent me a couple e-mails over the last day and a half. I'm not going to divulge any of the things he said, because he asked me (or told me, rather) not to. But I will share some of my closing thoughts on the subject, influenced by actual communication with the man.
1. I disagree with BBS when he says Bob Kravitz is "not a journalist." My feeling is, once a journalist, always a journalist. Bob's got press credentials. He gets to go to the press conferences. He gets his name in big, black print under his picture in the local paper. Does that make him better than DZ or BBS, who he called out in his column? No, I didn't say that. But there is a difference between Bob Kravitz and Shake n Bake, or bamock...it's a smaller difference than he wants to believe and a bigger difference than most of us want to believe. But the man is a professional. You can't take that away from him.
2. It was very nice of him to respond to me multiple times. Once he was very detailed and it was clear he spent a few minutes thinking through what he was trying to say. It didn't sound forced or contrived, he used some real examples and made an effort to address me personally. This does not make him a saint. But I think what gets lost in the shuffle is how busy the guy actually is. We don't know what other stuff Bob Kravitz has on his plate, just as he doesn't know what other stuff DZ and BBS have on their plates. Just because it was unfair for him to take those bloggers for granted, it doesn't mean we should treat him unfairly too. Two wrongs don't make a right, in my book. Plus, we don't want to sound ignorant like he sounded, do we?
3. From what I can tell, I don't think Bob is part of some nefarious plot to stir up trouble or increase the Star's Web readership by attacking competing blogs. I think he's a legit writer just fishing for good column ideas during a slow part of the summer. I think he does spend a lot of time crafting his columns, and whether they're good or bad, right or wrong, they are what they are...honest work. He's not trying to fleece or exploit us. He's just doing his job.
4. Bob's ill treatment of his guests on the show the other day stems, it seems, from a lack of appreciation for what bloggers do, not a lack of understanding. Everyone keeps saying that Bob doesn't understand the internet. Maybe he doesn't use the internet in the ways that we do, but if you re-read his column he admits that his industry has to, to quote Johnny Cash, "get tough or die." That is to say, in short, he knows he has to adapt and start accepting new media. He said so himself in the column. From his comments on the radio, I just don't think he likes this particular form of new media. That's his right.
Anyway, as a general hater of blogs myself (until I recently found two new ones that are actually stocked with smart people) I have defended Bob from the beginning, to some extent. I still think his argument would have been really good if he'd have just laid off the name calling and gone after lower-brow blogs. But he's a stubborn guy, so he's not going to publicly recant anything, no matter how wrong we think he is.