I enjoyed Juan Cole’s post, “Dear Mitt: *You* Don’t Get to Say That” on his blog, Informed Comment. Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan, and whether or not you see his blog as skewing to the left, I appreciate that he backs up his arguments not only with his own professorial knowledge but also with many media sources: WSFA 12 News, ABC News, Reuters, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The Hindu, Los Angeles Times, and reason.com.
In one post aimed at critiquing Romney’s flip-flopping ways on Medicare, Cole also comments on Ryan’s medical marijuana stance, Romney’s lack of foreign policy explanations in regard to US-Pakistan diplomacy, and Romney’s support of stricter Iranian petroleum blockades.
While the nine media sources Cole linked to might not all be valid, (and then what again is valid?), at the very least they are diverse sources that often link to original content.
Romney’s flip-flopping can easily be cartooned, but Cole succinctly and deftly spews an opinionated argument backed up by “verifiable” evidence that previous news outlets have published. While one could critique Cole for shifting focus from Romney’s stance on Medicare and lambasting Romney on other issues, his rhetorical tactic emulates exactly what Romney is doing – distracting and evading (except Cole does not evade, but rather gives proof).
Cole’s blog can loosely be used to discuss aggregation practices. As a blog, I have no issue with aggregation — it’s what the medium was designed to do (sort of). However, as a journalistic practice I have my own personal issues with aggregation and find the lines constantly blurred with today’s news sources on the web.