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August 5, 2005



PAUL GIGOT: Winners and losers, picks and pans. We call it Tony or Tacky, our way of calling attention to the best and worst of our times. We begin with bloggers -- those reporters, writers, and pundits who push their ideas out on the web, responsible to no one but themselves, often condemned, often praised. Jason, where do you come down on this one?

JASON RILEY: Well I'm going to defend the blogs here. I think bloggers are a pretty healthy development. Nobody knows how many are out there. There could be millions. But only a few dozen or so are professional journalists with serious followings, so there aren't that many to worry about to the extent that some people do -- which is what I wanted to get at. Professional journalists seem to be really worried about these guys. Either they're intimidated by them, or they just feel they're encroaching on their turf, and I don't see what the fuss is about. Dan Rather probably positively hates them all, but that's no surprise.

But to extent that these guys are out there and they're keeping mainstream journalists on their toes, double checking their sources, punching holes in their weak arguments, I think it's a good thing for the industry and I don't think there's anything really to be too concerned about.

PAUL GIGOT: A very subversive idea, Jason, to those of us who happen to be editors. All right, thanks, I think.

Kim Strassel grew up out West on a mountain, and loves the outdoors as much as anyone. Her pet peeve has to do with the word "environmentalist." Kim?

KIM STRASSEL: Yeah, I'm going to give a tacky to all those groups and individuals who have appropriated the word "environmentalist" for themselves. What this has meant over the years is that organizations like the Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife have been able to say, by taking this word, if you don't agree with our policies, which are very heavily based on regulation and litigation, then you are an anti-environmentalist. Yet by definition all you need to do to get this term, environmentalist, is to care about improving your natural surroundings. And most Americans do, and it so happens that a lot of them have very different views than the Sierra Club on how to do that, whether it be through the free market or through working with private groups rather than government, or just volunteering on the weekend to pick up trash in our local parks. So I encourage all of them to take back the word, if for no other reason than that they deserve it.

PAUL GIGOT: Some of the best environmentalists I know are hunters, for example. All right, thanks. And finally, Dan Henninger wishes to assure us that he is not stuck in the middle ages, but he is having trouble with all the gadgets of modern life, especially when he needs to ask for help. Dan?

DAN HENNINGER: Exactly. Software engineers are really the heroes of our time, but I'm getting ready to get off the train. A Luddite is someone who dislikes progress and wants to thwart technology. I am not a Luddite. But, this stuff is turning me into a Neo-Luddite. I'm spending too many hours of my life either fixing software glitches, rebooting my computer, or re-reading manuals for things like cell phones and DVD players. My whole life is being sucked into the world of engineers. They like to deal with this Mickey Mouse stuff and solve these little problems. I don't. I'm trying to escape from their world. Does that make me a Luddite? I don't think so. It makes me a sane person.

PAUL GIGOT: All right, thanks, Dan. That's it for this edition of THE JOURNAL EDITORIAL REPORT. Thank you for joining us. We'll be back next week, and I hope you'll join us then.