In Which I Am Misattributed by Josh Getlin

Josh Getlin gets his facts wrong in this article about the so-called litblogs vs. print war. The quote that Getlin attributes to me is actually from Colleen Mondor:

It’s okay for the lit blogosphere to exist as a version of your Mom’s book club – it’s okay for us to talk books and authors and compare notes on favorites, as long as we keep our place. Have you got that? We must not think for a moment that we contribute anything beyond serving as accessories to the real literary discussions.

I should point out that Getlin contacted me by email. I offered to talk with him over the phone and clarify my points. He never returned my call. But I did send the email he quoted.

And I’m glad that he at least noted the fact that Michael Dirda and I have been emailing. But I’m baffled that Getlin didn’t get a quote from John Freeman.

[UPDATE: One other correction to Getlin’s piece. For those who don’t know the story, here is the history of events. Dirda didn’t write his words in The Washington Post, as Getlin claims, but he contributed them to the NBCC blog Critical Mass. I was the first person to leave a comment on that post. I wondered why Dirda was so hostile to blogs. I called for harmony between print and online voices. Other figures, such as Colleen, Bookblog’s Marydell, Ron Hogan, Dan Wickett, David Montgomery, and numerous others, have asked the same question I have in various threads at the Critical Mass site as well as various posts at their respective sites: Why is the NBCC so hostile to the very literary enthusiasts who need to be involved in the campaign? John Freeman attempted some spin control with this post at Critical Mass on April 30, only to suggest, merely a week later on the Leonard Lopate Show, that newspapers should steal from blogs in order to survive. The question then is why Freeman constantly waffles in his clear animosity towards blogs (I certainly have no animosity towards Freeman, but he seems to confuse criticism of his writings with criticism of him as a person) and why he can’t quell these troubling prejudices in favor of a united front for literary coverage in all conduits.]

[UPDATE 2: The Los Angeles Times will be correcting the piece.]

Also, for the record, I think Josh Getlin is, in general, a pretty good reporter. I think this was simply a case of Getlin not understanding blogs very well.


  1. I love this false inferrence that most newspaper subscribers read the entire paper — let alone the book section. Everyone in newspapers knows that’s just not true.

  2. How is it that even in the online version of the article the LA Times can’t see fit to actually use hyperlinks? And they wonder why there’s a problem…

    Or was it intentional???

  3. I haven’t had a chance to read the LATimes piece yet (will try today), but you’re absolutely right, Ed. The hostility toward litbloggers made no sense, Freeman’s spin was transparent damage control, and now…taking pointers from innovative bloggers is a way to help save newspaper book sections? WTF is with the NBCC? Pick a position already.

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