The blogosphere has a rich seam of “media related” blogs, many of which engage in serious critical analysis of the vagaries of the mainstream media. Last year we did a post to introduce our readers to a selection of these. This post updates and expands our earlier coverage, also taking in the “fact check” blogs.
We will begin with the blogs which dissect the popular press. Our first stop is usually the Tabloid Watch blog – now two years old and still going strong. It tells us that it is “blogging about bad journalism” – which it does in a consistently entertaining fashion. Along similar lines is the Angry Mob blog – “we read the papers every day” – the title of which, it explains is about “the Angry Mob buying tabloid newspapers to give them an excuse to vent hatred towards other people. provides sharp analysis of the English national press“. “Angry Mob TV” features the wonderful “Dan and Dan” Daily Mail Song (see the bottom of this post).
The Five Chinese Crackers blog covers the press generally, with sections on the Mail, the Express, the Sun and “Political Correctness Gone Mad”. It also runs a “Tabloid Bullshit of the Month” award – fiercely competitive and won in January 2011 by Steve Doughty of the “Daily Mail”. Enemies of Reason – describes itself as “Pound shop pot shots at the media moral maze”. Its author, Steve Baxter, also has a blog “patrolling the murkier waters of the mainstream media” at the “New Statesman”. Intermittent but interesting “Nadia Knows – a little bit of everything” – which, as she says, is “Railing against poor journalism, creating my own in the process”.
Two relatively new additions in the general “bloogging on bad journalism” section. First, the “Press Not Sorry” blog – challenging bad journalism which creates fear and hatred. Second, Minority Thought” – which has recently been vigorously pursuing the story of the Daily Star’s apparent backing for the English Defence League.
There are several blogs dealing with individual newspapers. Express Watch has occasional coverage of Richard Desmond’s flagship publication. The “Sun – Tabloid Lies” is devoted, in its own words to “Analysing and Exposing the many deceptions of the Sun newspaper”. The “Daily Mail” has a large following on the blogs. There is “Mail Watch” – which posts about once a month but is worth looking out for. The Feminazery blog describes itself as “Blogging about the Daily Mail, feminism and feminist issues, while reclaiming the term “feminazi” in a tongue-in-cheek manner”. Buff the Banana with Paul Dacre – gives us “Daily Mail titillation without the other stuff”. Just in case anyone is confused the blog tells us that it “is not written by Paul Dacre at all. It is a work of satire written by Stephen Newton“. Kill or Cure isn’t really a blog – it is designed to “Help to make sense of the Daily Mail’s ongoing effort to classify every inanimate object into those that cause cancer and those that prevent it” – containing an index of subjects of Daily Mail articles about what causes or prevents cancer – there are quite a lot!
We are not aware of any blogs about the “Times” or the “Guardian”. There is, however, the entertaining “Aaronovitch Watch” which covers the work of “Times” (and occasional Guardian”) columnist David Aaronvitch and some of his friends and associates.
There are a number of more reflective and serious media blogs. The BBC College of Journalism Blog has thoughtful posts on media issues – particularly from the College’s Executive Editor, Kevin Marsh. Former “Times” journalist turned City University Journalism professor George Brock has a blog which deals with media issues. The Media Blog is, as it says, “a blog … about the media”.
Serious analysis of general media issues can be found on the blog written by Martin Moore, the director of the Media Standards Trust. And there is the Greenslade blog in the Guardian – always entertaining and well informed. The British Journalism Review blog provides occasional but thoughtful commentary on journalistic issue
Several blogs are devoted to the checking of facts. Full Fact.org is a blog and website which works “with politicians, journalists, experts and the public to stop inaccurate claims being made and spread”. The Straight Statistics blog and website is run by a pressure group whose aim is to detect and expose the distortion and misuse of statistical information, and identify those responsible. The mainstream media is always trying to catch up and Channel 4 News has its own “Fact Check Blog“. Finally, in relation to stories about science, there is Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science and Atomic Spin – “looking at weird, misleading and just plain stupid reporting of science“.
Fuller lists of Media Blogs and Media Organisation Media Blogs can be found on the Resources section of the Media Standards Trust website. In addition, there is also a list of International Media Blogs.
As might be expected, correcting errors and checking facts is something that US bloggers and websites do very well. The Regret the Error blog reports on media corrections, retractions, apologies, clarifications and trends regarding accuracy and honesty in the press. Accuracy in Media seeks to promote fairness, balance and accuracy in media reporting. The “FAIR” blog – fairness and accuracy in reporting – a national media watch group, which “has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986″. The Fact Check.org website describes itself as “a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics“.
The Stinky Journalism.org site describes its mission in this way
Not all journalism stinks. But there are times when reported “facts” smell fishy. When news stories go bad, the reporter’s method is usually to blame. At Stinkyjournalism.org we advocate for more rigorous – and scientific – journalistic methodology. Methods are objective, not people. From brief reports to continuing investigations, we hold the media accountable by examining concrete, measurable errors of fact and ethical breaches encountered in the press.
With a clearer political message, Media Matters for America is a not-for-profit, research and information center “dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media“.
The US is also very well served by serious and thoughtful media blogs. We can mention only a few. There is “Media Gazer“, which gathers “must read” media news. Jay Rosen’s “Press Think” blog, provides serious reflection on the press and its role. We also mention the Columbia Journalism Review, the Pew Centre’s “Journalism.org” and the Nieman “Journalism Lab“.
And finally, “Dan and Dan”
Handy round up. Thanks for this. Not sure if our DemocracyFail blog has appeared on your radar, but please check us out. We’re mainly about media ownership but blog on a variety of issues relating to media freedom and fairness. We also have a growing presence on Twitter and hope people reading this will follow us. http://democracyfail.wordpress.com
Thankyou for the links to all of those blogs and websites! Very useful indeed. May I draw your attention to ours which is in a similar vein? We deal with all of the evidence, opinion etc which deals with the way the media, but the press in particular may have an adverse effect on public opinion.
We have sections dealing with Health reporting in the press (including the role of the press in the Stafford Hospital ‘scandal’ and the findings of the Inquiry), the phone-hacking saga, daily examples of misreporting and misrepresentation, manipulation of statistics and data etc etc. There are pages of links to relevant articles from Blogs and websites such as the ones in your list above.
We would welcome visits to our Blog and any comments people would like to make.
Rosie Robertson, Diana M. Smith, Margaret Waterhouse
Thank you for the mention. It’s much appreciated. There are a few other blogs worth a mention, and I hope you don’t mind me linking to them here.
No Sleep ’til Brooklands, whose tagline is “Depressing adventures in the damp caves of professionally published nonsense.” http://nosleeptilbrooklands.blogspot.com/
Nothing Special (News, comment and media analysis) http://nsnewsflash.wordpress.com/
New blog, Forty Shades of Grey http://fortyshadesofgrey.blogspot.com/
Primly Stable, “Showing journalists and politicians the respect they deserve.” http://primlystable.blogspot.com/
And finally, the Shouting at Cows blog, with it’s own section dedicated to the Daily Mail http://www.shoutingatco.ws/blog/category/hatred/the-daily-mail/
All the above write with wit and discernment on the worst excesses of the tabloids, and I highly recommend them.
Thank you for the mention – really appreciate it.