It's about... ethics

In today's Times David Carr calls Gawker -- and blogs in general -- out on certain behaviors inappropriate for the media. The story was "inspired" by Gawker's flippant (and frequent) posts on an alleged sexual assault by a media professional, Peter Braunstein, in which Gawker also reveals the name of the victim, a traditional no-no:

"In order to stick out from the clutter online -- and Gawker does it extremely well, having had six million visitors in October -- Web sites need to not just push the envelope, but rip it to shreds. But, built on knowing cynicism and youthful exuberance, sites like Gawker and Jossip lack the vocabulary for genuine human misfortune."
On this account it's difficult to disagree. As for Carr's leap from Gawker's straddling of the ethics line to generalizations about blogger ethics, Terry has something to say. Carr's comment:
"But because blogs can be amended or erased, the people who write them tend not to be held to account. The expectation is that bloggers will transgress lines in terms of efficacy and tone and anybody who complains is viewed as a weenie."
Terry, who is "on record for getting very pissed when people just blatantly pull posts," responds: "Funny thing, though... I seem to remember Russ Kick at the Memory Hole saying something about some people who liked to 'amend' and 'erase' things on the web." Go [HERE] for several instances of the Times' unexplained web "amendments."

On a more personal note, I wrote a blog a couple of months back in which I pointed out that a TV station's short write-up of offensive anti-war protesters neglected to point out that these weren't just any anti-war protesters but Fred Phelps' God Hates Fags brigade.

Several readers apparently wrote in to protest the misleading story (which had been picked up by a conservative blog to illustrate how "loony the antiwar left is") which was then amended to include a reference to Phelps.

In an email exchange with an employee of the station who prefers to remain anonymous, I was condescendingly told that reports are changed all the time without notification or explanation. Typos perhaps, but even when an AP story is updated, it's noted and time-stamped. The corporate media is apparently as divided as the bloggers on this one... (Nitpicker; hat tip: Atrios)

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