Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Old Grey Lady Goes After Bloggers; Fight Back!

There is a very blogger out there whom you should all be introduced to and encouraged to read, IMHO. (In my humble opinion.) He has been keeping up with the stories many of us may have missed, and we sincerely appreciate his hard work. His name is Jack Lewis, and he wrote the article you are about to read.
SUMMARY: The Old Grey Lady continues her war against Wal-Mart, this time attacking bloggers who dare defend Wal-Mart's right to make money. Meanwhile the very things the NYT accuses bloggers of doing, they do themselves.

TEXT:

New York Times reaches new low in muckraking

From NYT...
What is different about Wal-Mart's approach to blogging is that rather than promoting a product — something it does quite well, given its $300 billion in annual sales — it is trying to improve its battered image.
Mentioning Wal-Mart's sales figures is pejorative. Shall we mention the NYT's almost $5 billion in sales? But note that the reporter tosses out the number without bothering to note that sales show only what people pay for a product, not what Wal-Mart had to pay for it, nor what they pay their employees, not what they pay in other expenses. Gross revenues are never, ever an adequate indicator of how much money a business makes.
Wal-Mart, long criticized for low wages and its health benefits,...
Wait, wouldn't that be long criticized by idiots like this very reporter and the rag he works for (I'm getting angry at the hypocrisy this reporter is showing and is being allowed to get away with) Exactly who else has been criticizing them? Isn't it unprofessional to create a story, then report on it?
...began working with bloggers in late 2005 "as part of our overall effort to tell our story," said Mona Williams, a company spokeswoman."

As more and more Americans go to the Internet to get information from varied, credible, trusted sources, Wal-Mart is committed to participating in that online conversation," she said....

But some bloggers are also defensive about their contacts with Wal-Mart. When they learned that The New York Times was looking at how they were using information from the retailer, several bloggers posted items challenging The Times's article before it had appeared. One blog, Iowa Voice, run by Mr. Pickrell, pleads for advertisers to buy space on the blog in anticipation of more traffic because of the article....
And as I understand it, the New York Times also solicits advertisers [they] pay to be on the pages of their stories. Odd that the reporter didn't bother to mention that, isn't it.
John McAdams, a political science professor at Marquette University who runs the Marquette Warrior blog, recently posted three links about union activity in the same order as he received them from Mr. Manson. Mr. McAdams acknowledged that he worked from Wal-Mart's links and that he did not disclose his contact with Mr. Manson.

"I usually do not reveal where I get a tip or a lead on a story," he said, adding that journalists often do not disclose where they get ideas for stories either.....
So here we have someone who is not a professional journalist being criticized for something that supposedly professional journalists know they are supposed to do. Except even the NYTs doesn't credit all their quotes the way they claim non-journalists are supposed to know they should. In a piece written in September of 2004 they quoted from a post at a message board I run, but failed to mention which message board it was, simply saying the general topic of the board. How is that any different than what they're accusing bloggers of doing?
Wal-Mart has warned bloggers against lifting text from the e-mail it sends them. After apparently noticing the practice, Mr. Manson asked them to "resist the urge," because "I'd be sick if someone ripped you because they noticed a couple of bloggers with nearly identical posts."

But Mr. Manson has not encouraged bloggers to reveal that they communicate with Wal-Mart or to attribute information to either the retailer or Edelman, Ms. Williams of Wal-Mart said.
Nor did he ask us not to, which would be the more important point. If someone contacts you via email, it would be the standard understanding that the contents of the email as well as the source can be made public unless requested otherwise. Is this reporter that ignorant of the internet, or is he simply feigning stupidity to make his story more plausible?
To be sure, some bloggers who post material from Mr. Manson's e-mail do disclose its origins, mentioning Mr. Manson and Wal-Mart by name.
I was contacted by Manson last week. The notice about this NYTs article was the first news tip I got. At the same time I do often go beyond the information given in the original source, and if the bulk of the information I find on my own is greater than the original story, I'll omit mention of the original story, since it served only to alert me to the issue. I don't see anything wrong with that. I seriously doubt these high-and-mighty, holier-than-thou NYTs reporters mention every single source they get any information from on any given story either. But then like most Liberals, they are under a different set of rules, aren't they.
I would like to know the source of the leak as to who told them when, where, and what type of planes were flying terrorists to Cuba? I would also like to know who told them about the enemy being moved to an area in Europe? Sources, man, I need sources! Let us not forget the story that destroyed our intellence gathering processes by the NSA while we still have men and women out in the field. If I remember correctly, this is known as treason. Hmm. I guess we'll never know. After all, they want us to lose this war, didn't ya know?

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