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TechCrunch will publish anything

Michael Arrington feels bad for Twitter. He really does. But hey, you snooze - you lose, so despite plenty of feedback from his own readers saying not to, TechCrunch will publish not the most confidential information from the leaked tweets but just the juicy highlights, because after all it's news. No surprise from the site that broke the Office 2010 embargo on Monday (and not even with analysis, just with content copied directly out of the reviewers guide). Will any of the people who wrote in to ask TechCrunch not to publish vote with their feet and stop reading?

Here in the UK, what we call the 'quality' daily newspapers, the broadsheets that used to be, tend to have a smaller readership than the Sun and the tabloids. Salacious gossip, paparazzi photos, calls for crackdowns on civil liberties 'for the sake of the children' and a topless model have sold a lot more papers than serious investigative journalism; it's that blurred line between entertainment and news. I'm going to have to quote some Billy Bragg.

'there's a call for stiffer penalties for sex offenders
next to a picture of a woman in stockings and suspenders.
could it be an infringement of the rights of the press
to print pcitures of ladies in states of undress?'

So, is leaking stolen tweets any different from celebrity gossip? Is it hypocritical for people to want their own privacy and give public figures none? Is this different from when Cnet googled Eric Schmidt and were blacklisted by Google? What are the new media ethics?



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
15th Jul, 2009 13:54 (UTC)
It's hypocritical to want your own privacy and afford other people none when there's no sensible reason for it.

However, then there's the 'public interest' defence, which applies to either investigating business practices the person conducts or parts of their real life that could reasonably be expected to impact on their business practices that affect other people.

Celebrities are a wholly different case. If it's an artist who creates popular media but does not court the limelight, then there are good grounds to crack down on the media. On the other hand, if their only 'talent' is being a clothes horse, it seems entirely fair to judge them on that.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


full steam ahead
Mary Branscombe
Simon & Mary

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