February 13, 2004


The Boston Globeís Alex Beam is one confused mofo:

What is that whooshing sound that you hear? It is all the hot air escaping from the self-styled "blogosphere."The blogosphere is the alternative reality Internet world, supposedly populated by vast communities of keyboard tappers linked by the World Wide Web. This campaign season, for the first time, the blogosphere had its own presidential candidate: Howard Dean.

Er ... it did? Apparently in BeamWorld, Deanís use of the internet as a campaigning device means that all bloggers were part of the Dean campaign, because -- the logic is inescapable -- those bloggers are on the internet too!

Beam is unable to see the trees for the forest. To him, the wild, sprawling diversity of web opinion is One Massed Force. Possibly Beam has never recovered from the shame and humiliation of his April Fooling a couple of years ago. Watch him rant:

The Internet can be likened to the Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Ten years ago, the Web was going to put newspapers out of business. Now, hilariously, 99 percent of the Internet commentariat, my friends the "bloggers," spend all day spitballing, commenting upon, and stealing the content of papers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Globe.

Only a veteran journalist could fit so much wrong into one paragraph.

Posted by Tim Blair at February 13, 2004 03:04 PM

Oh the blogosphere was pro-Dean? a- ha ha ha HA HA HA HA HA!

Posted by: Amos at February 13, 2004 at 03:20 PM

Isn't it traditional, once you're in a hole, to stop digging? Beam's realationship with the Blogosphere is like Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby. He is a very silly man. I fart in his general direction.

Posted by: David Gillies at February 13, 2004 at 03:25 PM

I'm a Dukakis booster.

Posted by: Habib at February 13, 2004 at 03:29 PM

Isn't it traditional, once you're in a hole, to stop digging?

It seems that the tradition is to call for dynamite.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at February 13, 2004 at 03:35 PM

And his mother was a hamster and his father smelled of elderberries. Phuth!

(or was it the other way around?...)

Posted by: Katherine at February 13, 2004 at 03:36 PM

I can't help but think that Beam's column is the stupidest thing I've read in a good long while.

Posted by: Ryne McClaren at February 13, 2004 at 03:45 PM

Where's my chicken suit?

Posted by: Bruce Goodluck at February 13, 2004 at 04:04 PM

Damn, damn, damn!

I bow to your might, Mr. Timminator...

Posted by: Roger Bournival at February 13, 2004 at 04:07 PM

Coming up from Alex Beam:

The Newfangled Radio - Why It Will Never Replace Newspapers

Posted by: The Mongrel at February 13, 2004 at 04:17 PM

Semaphore- the new media?

Posted by: Habib at February 13, 2004 at 04:34 PM

Oh the HORROR! Oh the humanity! We DARE comment on newspapers. I mean aren't they supposed to be the final word?

Posted by: cannon at February 13, 2004 at 05:41 PM

The chuckle is, this is the result of feverish mental exertion by Beam. Surely he was determined not to again show himself the fool as he did two years ago. I'll guess he still blames his brain fart on the blogosphere for reporting it. Maybe he has outfoxed us all and just desperately wanted to boost his e-readership numbers.

Posted by: Mike M, at February 13, 2004 at 07:23 PM

We have to give him credit for being right about one thing. Newspapers have editors; these uphold the high standards of print journalism. Thus, with an error-free product there is nothing substantive for denizens of the blogosphere to criticize.

I'm glad he called it to our attention. Otherwise I wouldn't have noticed.

Posted by: Ernie G at February 13, 2004 at 11:07 PM

It may help to understand the arrogance and superiority this 'journalist' displays to know the Boston Globe is owned by the NY Times.

I've wondered, being from the Boston area, if some of our Globe 'journalists' think they will move up to the NY Times if they show the same qualities (arrogance, superiority, etc.) as their journalistic siblings at the Times?

I hope some journalism professor, at some school, uses columns like this one to illustrate how to write and look like an arrogant idiot.

I was under the impression that it was the 'real journalists' writing for Time, etc. that had elevated Dean to god status much more than the blogsphere had. Sure, there were blogs that were pro-Dean and raised lots of money for him. These blogs constituted what % of the blogsphere? How many blogs were there pointing out Dean didn't have a chance?

Posted by: Chris Josephson at February 13, 2004 at 11:14 PM

I've always heard that the advantage of writing a letter to the editor is that you can display your idiocy to thousands of people at once instead of just those in your immediate area. Beam manages to do this on a regular, routine basis. Does the Globe keep him on for the humor factor? Down home we'd say he has his cranial cavity so far up his anal aperture he needs a plexiglass bellybutton to see which direction he's facing.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at February 13, 2004 at 11:57 PM

Mr. Beam's thesis should be summarily rejected unless he can prove that he typed out his article on a 1970 Olivette and that it was manually typeset. Otherwise...feh.

Posted by: Tongue Boy at February 14, 2004 at 12:06 AM

I know I'm heartbroken after shilling endlessly for Howard Dean on my blog. No wait, I made fun of Dean and his Deaniacs so I guess I'm not heartbroken at all. Beam has me all confoozled.

I'm guessing it's the "commenting upon" part that has Beam's panties in a wad about blogs. He pines for the good old days when he could write any crap he wanted with only the occasional letter to the editor to contradict it. Now he has to deal with this newfangled internet and its unwashed masses who can say whatever they damn well please about his writing without it being filtered first through the Boston Globe editorial staff. Dark days for the likes of Beam who want the conversation with their readers to be one way.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at February 14, 2004 at 12:20 AM

Don't you remember when Lileks posted that pro-Dean remix on his site? I mean, that was supposed to help Dean, right?

Posted by: Crank at February 14, 2004 at 03:40 AM

Around ten or fifteen years ago, the American media was obsessed with cable television; it was "too much", programming was "too specialized" (the Food Channel, History Channel, sports networks, etc.)

Many prognosticators saw the complete and utter demise of the Big Three networks (ABC,NBC, CBS; FOX was just starting up).

Talk show host David Letterman would elicit a laugh every night by taking a straightface contrarian view and saying, "Cable is dead--It'll never last!" His obvious self-interest in protecting his monopolized audience made the joke work.

Alex Beam seems to be apeing Letterman except that he doesn't get the joke. And thus he demonstrates why I and so many others turn to the internet for news and the "blogosphere" for analysis. Tim Blair's blog is like Martin Luther to Beam's corrupted print journalism church.

Posted by: JDB at February 14, 2004 at 03:52 AM

You touched the keyboard!!!!! You're working for Dean.

Posted by: Richard Cook at February 14, 2004 at 08:00 AM

That WHOOSHING sound was Beam's trousers falling to his ankles just before he tripped, face first, into the keyboard. The result was this article.

Posted by: timk at February 14, 2004 at 08:09 AM

What is that crank talking about? My presidential ticket is now, and will ever be, Bill & Opus on the Bloom County line.
BTW, Beam, go take a look at your paper's circulation figures from ten years ago and compare them to now. No one ever said you'd get buried quickly, just that you'd get buried.

Posted by: TC at February 14, 2004 at 08:48 AM


"daily circulation of 474,845 and a Sunday circulation of 704,926"

claim made at:



Daily circulation: 470,825 Sunday circulation: 748,726


So, roughly the same Daily circulation, and a 6% drop in about 6 years in the Sunday circulation (I was 1 of them!)

Population growth in the NE area served by Boston Globe in the same period: Tough to find easily, but a good estimate for the period is 3-4% growth.

So, yes, the Globe is perhaps being somewhat slowly buried. Hopefully, if this happens, it will be like the proverbial frog in hot water: by the time they notice it will be too late for them...

Posted by: Carl in N.H at February 14, 2004 at 09:16 AM

Hah HA! Beam's article is available on the internet. Dean's candidacy was organized via the internet. Ergo, Beam is a Dean supporter! The logic is rock solid. Well, at least as solid as Beam's reputation for getting the facts straight, and since he's a reporter for a major newspaper we can take that to the bank.

Seriously though, what's this guy's beef with the internet? Did it kill his father and burn his farm to the ground or something? Ya know, if someone had the same sort of beef as Beam has with the internet with, say, the power grid, the phone network, or the interstate highway system they would be branded as a grade-A nutzoid and sent to a mental health facility for observation, if not confinement.

Posted by: Robin Goodfellow at February 14, 2004 at 09:51 AM