Andrew Marr angers bloggers, describing them as 'inadequate, pimpled and single'

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Andrew Marr, pictured here in 2009, said that he considers citizen journalism to be "spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night".

British journalist Andrew Marr has angered bloggers by suggesting they are "inadequate, pimpled and single." Marr, who was formerly the BBC's political editor, also said that citizen journalism is "spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night". He made the comments at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, saying: "A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed young men sitting in their mother's basements and ranting. They are very angry people."

Marr, who now hosts a flagship Sunday morning show, The Andrew Marr Show, on which he has recently interviewed British Prime Minister David Cameron and ousted BP executive Tony Hayward, added: "OK – the country is full of very angry people. Many of us are angry people at times. Some of us are angry and drunk". His comments sparked outrage from bloggers, one of whom dismissed them as "stupid generalisations." Another said that they were "sure that Andrew Marr did not mean all bloggers, but it is unfortunate that he did not seem to make much of a distinction in his statement." Another blogger, writing on Twitter, said they supported Marr's arguments. "Just read Andrew Marr's comments on blogging," they said. "I blog and I agree with most of what he says. I don't read blogs for news, doubt I ever will."

Cquote1.svg Aside from the paradox of him indulging in a rant to complain about other ranters, it is the one-sidedness of his argument that is so striking Cquote2.svg

Roy Greenslade, media commentator

Other journalists also criticised the comments. Krishnan Guru-Murthy, a newscaster for Channel 4 News, said that it is "true that flicking through the comment section of some political blogs can easily make you think the blogosphere is populated by obnoxious trolls. But there are plenty of thoughtful, insightful people writing online too: you just need to find them. They might not be household names, or worthy of a slot on Radio 4, but to dismiss them out of hand seems wrong. As for bloggers being 'inadequate, pimpled and single,' that's no way to talk about Jon Snow. He isn't single."

"We know our viewers want commentary and analysis alongside their news and our blogs help us give more of that," Murthy said. "Obviously we can't give opinion in the way bloggers who aren't also public service broadcasters can, but we enjoy reading other people's opinions and the best blogs are much more than rants, often breaking stories, too. And anyway, I like reading the occasional rant. But as a blogger if you offer up something to the wider world you should expect people to say what they think of it."

Roy Greenslade, a professor of journalism at City University London, and former editor of the Daily Mirror, said: "Aside from the paradox of him indulging in a rant to complain about other ranters, it is the one-sidedness of his argument that is so striking. None of us who write blogs are unaware of vituperative contributions from people who like to remain anonymous ... It's the price we [bloggers] pay –a small price, in my view– for a communications system that allows for public participation." Greenslade added that he thought Marr "seems to be damning the whole blogosphere when, as we all know, there are thousand upon thousand of bloggers who are making valuable public interest contributions on the net day by day, even hour by hour. Marr, to use an archaic but apposite idiom, simply can't see the wood for the trees."


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