How to Kill Blogging

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Rabbi David Wolpe writes a recipe for the death of blogging, at least as it is currently practiced:

"Judge everyone favorably," teaches the Mishna. In my years in the rabbinate I have found this is a principle we observe very strictly when it comes to ourselves. We always put our own actions in a favorable light. "I was only trying to help!" "I only said it out of concern." "I'm not mean--you are too sensitive!" But when it comes to others, we are too willing, even eager, to assume unflattering motivations.

I am scrupulous; he is compulsive. I am honest; he is brutal. I am forgiving; he is weak. The ways in which we interpret the same qualities differently are legion.

There is no way to avoid judging others. We all have to make decisions in business, in friendship, in love. But we should be aware of the built-in bias to afford ourselves more latitude than we offer to others. When we try the exercise of interpreting another's actions favorably, it is sometimes startling to discover how much insight we gain.

Emerson offers the analogy to a museum: "We must be as courteous to a man as we are to a picture, which we are willing to give the advantage of a good light. Indeed, when we are well thought of we often manage to live up to expectations.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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