The old press is still having the same conversation about the new press: objectivity! Here’s the latest by the L.A. Times, titled Are Silicon Valley tech bloggers truly objective?
This can (and has) gone on and on and on.
My clearly stated goals on this site: Transparency, Truth and Bias.
Not objectivity. The opposite of objectivity.
The other side argues that this isn’t objective writing as defined by journalism schools and therefore wrong. The argument is ridiculous (more on why below). But since there’s this appearance of ethical lapse, it has legs with readers.
But the core argument, that readers need to be protected from biased but transparent blog posts assumes that (1) readers are idiots, and (2) that the traditional press can somehow cover tech properly.
The real question isn’t about whether I can keep writing what I want to write (I do have certain constitutional rights).
It’s really about whether the community should or shouldn’t want me to write.
Here’s what I think –
1. Readers are not idiots, and even if they were the traditional press is in no way capable of “protecting” them from their idiocy. Because of no. 2 below.
2. The traditional tech press understands very little about technology, or startups, or venture capital. Their coverage is therefore pretty awful.
3. Much of the complaining about my writing is driven by competitors who clearly have their own financial conflict of interest in complaining about me.
4. Why not just drop it? I was already fired by AOL. Is their position really that I need to stop blogging on a completely personal site as well?
5. How do they propose to accomplish that? Social ostracism? Presumably, since there’s no one left to “fire” me.
6. And finally, why in the world would the community not want the opinions of insiders on the tech topics of the day?
I remember the days when the only way to get your message out was to filter it through the press, and it wasn’t very informative. Now there’s direct communication by people who have real knowledge about issues.
In the end this debate feels like it’s more about the insecurities of the old tech people than it is about “objective journalism.”
What process can get us more quickly to “truth” than if the people who have a stake in the matter express their opinions, and then everyone else draws conclusions based on those opinions?
And I can’t figure out why more journalists don’t say to themselves, “wait, carried to its logical conclusion, all I’m asking for is censorship.”