Surveying recent comments responding to a recent blog post, I find myself wondering if there is some logical disconnect between the reality of daily blogging and the expectations of our site visitors. Blogs, as far as I understand the form, and I assure you it is not one I am altogether comfortable with, are intended to be spontaneous, fast and opinionated comment on breaking news. As a result, they are not going to be comprehensive and they are going to reflect the author's perspective.
For the record, I am a lifelong liberal Catholic Democrat, from a N.Y. union-supporting, public sectoring, civil service family. I don't think I can be any clearer than that about my biases and background. I know plenty of our site visitors consider liberal-Catholic to be an oxymoron. So be it; I'll never convince them otherwise, so let's just move on. You can assume when I write an OPINION based blog post (as opposed to items which are more or less straight news reporting) that it is not going to be objective (if there is such a thing at all in any mainstream media these days) and will be filtered through my worldview just as your opinion-based rebuttals are filtered through yours. (I wonder if the same posters here who complain about the bias of America bloggers are likewise leaving lenghty complaints at First Things or Crisis, the National Review or American Spectator about including more liberal commentators on their blogs or if they similarly complain that blog posts are not comprehensive enough.) For more considered opinion (partly because we indeed devote more time to it than a small fraction of the 24-hour news cycle) and for a variety of perspectives from the contemporary Catholic world, I'd invite site visitors to consider the magazine, America. Your expectations can, and should, be higher for what we actually publish in print. I would have to say the blog In All Things is an altogether different animal (too fast and too furious?).
So with subjectivity, and, yes, I will admit some degree of superficiality (blog posts make journalism's "literature in a hurry" seem painstaking) as a given, what can we expect from each other here online? Some alerts to breaking news, perhaps a different spin on news then you might find elsewhere, and I'd say at the least, civility and generosity in dialogue--you know things from which they will know we are Christians by our, etc. I hope I respond with courtesy and respect to all commentators here as my job duties allow (believe it or not I have lots more to do than patrol this blog). I acknowledge some snarky lapses, but I would have to say dealing with some of the particulary unkind comments left behind by some of our regulars is one of the reasons I can find blogging duties here at America dispiriting.
The last few months covering the HHS fiasco have been instructive for me as a Catholic journalist. I have been vilified by both the right and left wing factions of the church, sometimes over the same post. Clearly a thick skin, or at least thicker than I have, is required if one is foolish enough (or contractually obligated) to enter the blogosphere, but I guess I would prefer it were not so.
There I feel better. God bless all here.