Forbes has published this indiscriminate smack-down of the whole blogosphere. Shaky factual basis, loads and loads of innuendo, and doesn’t even try for a semblance of objectivity.
B.L. Ochman outlines some of the problems with it.
Blogs are here to stay, so groups like Forbes that just whine and moan about it are going to lose their relevance. What the old money and corporate power behind Forbes magazine is afraid of is losing control over the flow of information around their companies. Well, they’ve already lost it, and the tactics for “fighting back” are beyond the pale.
… Threaten to drag the host into a defamation suit against the blogger. The host isn’t liable but may skip the hassle and cut off the blogger’s access anyway. Also:Subpoena the host company, demanding the blogger’s name or Internet address.
Wait a second: this is a piece about a huge bunch of bloggers that are supposedly using libel and malicious tactics to hurt businesses, and the article itself suggests hassling the ISPs with frivolous lawsuits in order to get them to take down pesky bloggers. Blatant hypocrisy. They need to get with the program and come at the blogosphere with a hand extended, instead of with a sword drawn.
No one’s debating that there’s a lot of crap on the blogosphere, but the thing is that the good stuff ends up at the top. Daniel Lyon’s practice of citing single examples and then making generalizations about all ten million plus blogs on the blogosphere is more irresponsible than the practices of a goodly chunk of the blogs that he wishes to condemn.
I thought this debate over whether bloggers are ‘real’ journalists was over. Bloggers are real journalists if they write real journalism. Forbes needs to learn the difference between content and medium. Blogs are a medium. They convey information. Content is content. If it’s bad content, then it’s bad content. If it’s good, it’s good. It shouldn’t matter where you put it.
Now, the story also blasts Google and Yahoo for being ‘potent allies’ of these screaming meanies. They provide the medium. They don’t provide the content. There’s a well established legal immunity that allows them to totally ignore everything that people that use their service say. Forbes has no reason to oppose this separation other than sheer hysteria. By the logic that they use, I should call up the print shop that prints Forbes and inform them that unless they stop printing the magazine, I’ll sue them for libel.
They may wonder how simply maintaining a large printer amounts to libel, but never mind that! They have a responsibility not only to oil the gears of the big machine, but to read through every word that Forbes prints. The printers should be staying up nights and scrutinizing the copy. Indeed, every print shop on the planet should be required to employ their own staff of copy editors and fact checkers. Or we could pass the responsibility further down the line. It’s not the printers responsibility to check for lies, it’s the news-stands! The news-stands disseminate content, they should be responsible for what they supply. By Forbes’ logic, any news-stand that sells a magazine with a lie in it should be sued for libel.
Rexblog said this:
There’s a sentence buried in it, “Attack blogs are but a sliver of the rapidly expanding blogosphere.” However, if you read this story, you’ll think all blogs are killer tomatoes.