Part of my job, as I see it, is to read as many local blogs and Web sites as I can. And it's interesting to me how the local efforts mirror the national blogs. Thaddeus Matthews, for example, is our local version of the Drudge Report. He throws up every outrageous rumor that comes his way, no matter how potentially libelous or scandalous. And about half the time he's on target.
Of course, that also means that about half the time he's totally full of crap. It's a case of reader beware, but even so, Matthews has posted dozens of items that have led to stories in mainstream media outlets.
It's the same with other local sites. In Memphis, we've got media blogs, liberal blogs, conservative blogs, food blogs, art blogs, and dozens of variations on those themes. Add in the hundreds of MySpace accounts and personal journals and the number of options for reading local "authors" of one sort or another becomes overwhelming.
One thing I've noticed, though, is a consistent theme in reader comments: Memphis-bashing. It usually comes in the form of "I'm glad I left this stupid town" or "This is the last straw. I'm moving to DeSoto County" (or Fayette County or Covington or some other perceived Shangri-la).
What the Memphis-haters seem to have in common, however, is an inability to stop themselves. If they've moved away, why are they still engaged in local issues? Why go to a blog to insult Willie Herenton if you're now living the good life in Olive Branch?
Sure, we've got problems here in River City, but there is also hope and more media outlets than ever before -- amateur and professional -- performing watchdog functions. The old 24-hour news cycle is dead. Web sites, including MemphisFlyer.com, post around the clock, as news happens.
Never has more information been more available to the public, and I believe better things are possible with a better-informed electorate. It happened nationally in the last election. It can happen here. We need to keep smoking the rascals out and then take action at the ballot box.