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Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Journalism

Most blogging is parasitical in nature and that is especially true for blogs which primarily focus on news and current affairs. They feed off the labour of the mainstream press, using media stories for their home-grown analyses and criticisms (always criticisms!). Very few indeed engage in original research or reporting, though admittedly most are unable to do so due to a lack of ability, resources or inclination. However many online “news” websites are not that different, notably “aggregators” like the voracious Huffington Post and its many, many clones. While larger internet-based entities make some effort to fund in-house journalism of their own, others simply regurgitate views poached from elsewhere within the “Commentariat”. We have all come across opinion pieces hyperlinking to other opinion pieces, which in turn link to yet others. The most recent example I have seen was on Salon where a game of follow-the-links led to four different websites before reaching the original source: a news report in the New York Times. So, despite my disdain for the conservative media cartel which controls far too much of the national (and local) press in Ireland, there is much to be said for professional journalism by professional journalists. I just wish we had the same plurality of sources on this island as they seem to have in many other countries.

Here, in true leeching fashion, is a defence of the Fourth Estate from John Oliver.

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