Tuesday, January 18, 2005

New York Times Blog Envy

This irresponsible piece (suggesting Iraqi bloggers work for the CIA) is getting the ridicule it deserves.

Jeff Jarvis (no member of the Vast Ring-Wing Conspiracy) slashes best:

Sarah Boxer's story on IraqTheModel in today's New York Times Arts section is irresponsible, sloppy, lazy, inaccurate, incomplete, exploitive, biased, and -- worst of all -- dangerous, putting the lives of its subjects at risk. . . .

So here is a reporter from The New York Times -- let's repeat that, The New York Times -- speculating in print on whether an Iraqi citizen, whose only apparent weirdness and sin in her eyes is (a) publishing and (b) supporting America, is a CIA or Defense Department plant or an American.

Ms. Boxer, don't you think you could be putting the life of that person at risk with that kind of speculation? In your own story, you quote Ali -- one of the three blogging brothers who started IraqTheModel -- saying that "here some people would kill you for just writing to an American." And yet you go so much farther -- blithely, glibly speculating about this same man working for the CIA or the DoD -- to sex up your lead and get your story atop the front of the Arts section (I'm in the biz, Boxer, I know how the game is played).

How dare you? Have you no sense of responsibility? Have you no shame?

Seems as if Oliver Stone now owns the New York Times.



Glenn Reynolds is a bit miffed with The New York Times concluding with:

At the moment, the New York Times is in court, demanding constitutional protection for its sources.  If they're exposed, it fears, they may suffer consequences that will make others less likely to come forward in the future.  That, we're told, would be bad for America.

But the New York Times has no compunctions about putting the lives of pro-American and pro-democracy Iraqis at risk with baseless speculation even though the consequences they face are far worse than those that the Times' leakers have to fear.  It seems to me that doing so is far worse for America.

When journalists ask me whether bloggers can live up to the ethical standards of Big Media, my response is:  "How hard can that be?"  Not very hard, judging by the Times' latest.