Blogger Influence Raises Ethical Questions

“NEW YORK – When Jerome Armstrong began consulting for Howard Dean (newsweb sites)’s presidential campaign, he thought the ethical thing to do was to suspend the Web journal where he opined on politics.

But to suggest others do the same with their journals, otherwise known as blogs? No way.

“If I’m getting paid by a client, I don’t blog about it. That’s my personal set of standards,” Armstrong said. “I’m not going to hold anybody else to my personal standards. I’m not going to make that universal.”

The growing influence of blogs such as his is raising questions about whether they are becoming a new form of journalism and in need of more formal ethical guidelines or codes of conduct.

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 27 percent of adults who go online in the United States read blogs. And blogs have greater impact because their readers tend to be policy makers and other influencers of public opinion, media experts say.

So far, many bloggers resist any notion of ethical standards, saying individuals ought to decide what’s right for them. After all, they say, blog topics range from trying to sway your presidential vote to simply talking about the day’s lunch.”

This is pretty interesting and it is not an exaggeration to say that we are watching the dawn of a new era. One of the fundamental problems is that so many people blindly accept whatever they read.

Blind acceptance of anything is very dangerous.

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