Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is it TechCrunch-ed?

The TechCrunch founder and currently employed-or-not Editor-in-Chief, Michael Arrington, reminds me of Stephen Glass. Swisher observed ‘his obvious need to be the center of attention’.  This evokes Glass’ failed struggle for fame.

His  “almost comically over the line” arrangement of investing in the same tech companies his site covers is now in red highlight when the $20 dollar VC fund—CrunchFund—was launched. This formalized his deal that has been going on since the start of his tech blog, thus, awakening Swisher’s, Carr’s, and all others’ joint wrath.

I read David Carr’s probing article. It buzzed his being blathered unethical which is the first subject on my hit list for integrity’s sake. If Carr’s documentation of the several instances of TechCrunch writing favorable pieces on companies in which Arrington had invested’ is accurate, then, where is ethics written down? No reader would want to get an access to sanitized information. No reader would want to be a part of a greedy news trade serving their businesses’ remote advantage.

Where is ethics in journalism if there's the fear for editorial retribution [competitors] invoked by this kind of arrangement?

I read the Guardian’s ill-commented story [sets another concern for the use of profanity]. Arrington said,  I am TechCrunch and TechCrunch is me. Then, Huffington would say in defense, It is very, very clear that they are distinct entities and Michael will have no influence on coverage. Ironic, isn’t it? This leads me to my second ethical issue of trickery. Or is it just ineffective PR of AOL owning TechCrunch? Arrington stressed that he is not a journalist [yet, the editor-in-chief] so as to justify the arrangement and so he would have the liberty to be engaged in whatever investment there is to feed his gain. Despite Huffington’s hopeful resistance, here’s Arrington found guilty by his defensive statements. Not pointing out his ultimatum, yet—in addition to Huffington’s statement that she would be recruiting a new editor in replace of Arrington. Finally, she’s under submission now, afraid to be undercut by the old media.

Did I mention that AOL invested about $10 million in his fund? Who scratches whose back, now?

I read MG Siegler’s emotionally charged article.  Siegler got Arrington’s back strengthened by his words, If Mike tried to get me to write some unreasonable post about a company he had invested in, I would laugh at him. But he would never do that. This shouts out my last perceived ethical issue of the writers’ autonomy over what they would cover. If Arrington has real selfish intentions, as verified by writers like David Carr regardless if they’re driven by the so-called old media jealousy, then the writers’ trust for him goes nowhere. Writers like Siegler would be a slave of this unethical trade. This is an issue of journalists being held back of their principles.

Paul Carr, a TechCrunch writer, forfeited TechCrunch’s editorial credibility, and said he was worried that “investors will gain influence over how CrunchFund-backed companies are covered on TechCrunch.”

 Then, I read Swisher’s verbose rage. And I read the neutral version of Nieman Journalism Lab in Coddington’s words to sum it all up.

We have the words of all the writers like Carr and Swisher who are up against the giant wall of Arrington. Nevertheless, heaven knows the truth about his real intentions. With all the truths or untruths in all appearances placed in front of us, we can only investigate on our own. At this point, we can only wait for the decision their principles will lead them to. 

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