Center of Attention


A round up of recent reporting and commentary by a few centrist, moderate, and independent bloggers.

Andrew Sullivan points to a debate and marc at Black Shards launches one on Islam, its moderates and extremists.

Jeff Jarvis ponders the value of book reviews by local newspapers … and by bloggers.

Megan Donovan at GTL announces that she has been granted an interview with the “Office of Special Counsel, the independent investigative agency that has launched an investigation in recent weeks surrounding the U.S. Attorney firings,” to be published this evening.

Jim Martin keeps up the pressure on “moderate” Republicans.

Michael vdG writes that Senator Obama is starting to look like a bully unless he corrects his campaign’s mistreatment of a friendly MySpace “blogger.”


  • Alex Hammer

    Regarding the Barack Obama MySpace portion of this post:

    Update 1: “Obama MySpace Discrepancy – Joe Rospars and TechPresident”
    Update 2: “TechPresident: How to Value a MySpace Mega-Group”
    Update 3: “Joe Anthony on his current MySpace page: “Perhaps it should just be deleted.””
    Original: Obama, MySpace, Joe Anthony, Day 2 – Latest Coverage By Leading Media (New York Times, TechPresident, Washington Post, Huffington Post)

  • George Sorwell

    And regarding Jeff Jarvis on no book reviews in our local papers:

    In spite of Jarvis’ resentment, I thought the Times article did justice to the value of book blogging, which I feel is considerable. But I think Jarvis is wrong about the value of newspaper book reviews–and, what’s more, I think novelist Richard Ford was right when he said a book review editor has greater institutional responsibilities to book readers than the proverbial blogger-in-a-basement.

    His complaint that newspaper reviews are “unimpressive” was…wait for it…unimpressive. Or, you know, maybe he thinks that every other article in the local Cleveland newspaper (Jarvis singled out Cleveland) is Hemingwayesque. He doesn’t seem to think movie reviewers are required to give a local perspective on a movie under review–why does he think a book review ought to be expected to do so?

    He also invokes economics, suggesting that the job of a local reporter is more valuable than a job for a local book reviewer. Maybe so. And Jarvis is a media insider, while I’m just someone who reads Romenesko’s blog. But it seems to me that whenever newspapers eliminate their local book reviewer they are always also eliminating lots of other jobs. So I think he’s making a claim that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. It’s not either/or. It’s a bunch of people getting fired.

    It may well be that book reviews are not fiscally feasible. I believe retailers are concerned with how much revenue is generated by every square foot of sales space. Perhaps the column inches devoted to books underperform. And perhaps a newspaper should be more like a Walmart and less like a library–or less like the internet.

    And maybe media insiders should only care about the bottom line, especially when some guy who writes books says something that challenges the way they look at the world. The customer is always right, you know.