Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Jumping Over the Lazy Dog
In another story about theno-holds-barred cage matchbetween journalists and bloggers, Samantha Israel writes that she only has been corrected once by a reader.

Let's go for two.

Israel writes:

More than arrogant, some old-time reporters think bloggers are plain old lazy. Former CBS news correspondent Eric Engberg made himself clear in his"Blogging as typing, not journalism"article on last November."Given their lack of expertise, standards and, yes, humility,"he wrote,"the chances of the bloggers replacing mainstream journalism are about as good as the parasite replacing the dog it fastens on."The dog certainly bit back when it revealed that Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, who averages more than 350,000 visitors a day to his Daily Kos political blog, was paid US$12,000 to promote Howard Dean's campaign for the Democratic nomination.

The mainstream press didn't reveal that deal. Zunigadisclosed it to his readersin June 2003:

I spent this weekend in Burlington, VT, where we officially accepted work on behalf of presidential candidate Howard Dean. Dean joins a Senate candidate in our still small but hopefully growing roster of clients.

He also put a prominent disclaimer on the home page of his site,"I do some technical work for Howard Dean,"linking the word disclaimer to a full description of the financial relationship. You can see this yourself in the Internet Archive's June 2003 copy of theDaily Koshome page.

I'm not aware of a single mainstream media web site that displays its conflicts of interest as prominently and permanently as Zuniga did.

The only thing journalists revealed about this deal was an inability to do even cursory fact checking, misleading people into thinking that a fully disclosed financial relationship was shady Armstrong Williams-style payola.

In an article where she offers a derisive"sor-ry"to the only reader to correct her, Israel continues this trend. The fact that this slanderous falsehood lives on in the mainstream media, even turning up in a high-minded academic review of journalism, demonstrates one reason that readers might turn to bloggers for information.

Master of My Domain
The owners of other Pope Benedict XVI domains are taunting me.

Jacopo Di Trani, an Italian who gotBenedict16.Com, has declared that pornographers and online casinos are welcome to buy it from him:

The first time i didn't believed Cadenhead when he said"i'll never give my domain to gamble/porn site developers"!

He's a very kind guy, but, first of all, his hair CAN'T be real, and, second, although i have respect for his decision to give for free his very valuable domain (with a billion of christians in the world), it doesn't change my opinion about the human nature and i'll never do something like that with this domain!

The owner of PopeBenedictXVI.Com, who received a $150,000 bid on EBay that turned out to be a hoax, had a question-and-answer page up where he posted this:

I'll be keeping every red cent of this dough, thinking about blowing it on horse races. ... the person that you saw on tv is the owner ofbenedictxvi.comand not me, you will just have to take my word on the fact that I'm much younger and sexier than that guy, I've got more hair too.

I know in a higher sense I did the right thing by donating the domains toModest Needs, a great charity that continues to getrecord traffic, but if my gesture turns out to have an actual market value of six figures, I think I'm going to spend the rest of the day curled up in a ball eatingChunky Monkeydirectly out of the container.

Update: A discussion onReal Time with Bill Maher:

Joe Scarborough: I think there's going to be a porn site.""

Sen Alan Simpson: [overlapping] John Waters would love it.

Scarborough: [overlapping] In fact, go to it.

Insert Charlie Brown"Auuuugh!"here.


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