January 14 2008

Gizmodo Replies To Their Critics

Gizmodo LogoThis will be my final post on “GizmodoGate”, (yes, I made that the name… this was needing of a “Gate” <em>edit:I didn’t mean first anywhere… I figured SOMEONE had said it, I just hadn’t seen it, much to my surprise</em>) as it is obvious that they have their heads to far up their own hindquarters to care what anyone in the world says about them.

They have posted a reply to their “critics” about the “prank” they pulled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last week. Instead of standing up and taking their comeuppance like men (it was all men from what I understand, so I’m not being sexist), they have decided to wag a finger at the people who have criticized their childish antics.

What Brian Lam, the “man” in charge of Gizmodo, fails to see is that his actions reflected on the entire blogosphere. Any blogger trying to get access to an event now will now be lumped into the same primordial ooze pit these troglodytes crawled out from. Bloggers already have credibility issues, and for you to attend a major business function such as CES with the intent to cause disruptions is inexcusable.

Journalists are meant to report the news, not to create it. By injecting themselves into the proceedings in such a manner they ended up doing just that; you became the story. They took the focus away from the event, from the companies who pay enormous sums to hold this event, and made their little Jackass style prank the belle of the ball. If it wasn’t their intent to put the focus on themselves, they wouldn’t have videoed the entire proceedings and then placed it on their site.

In his response, Mr. Lam tries to make the prank sound almost noble, as if it was his site’s duty to do this.

You don’t get more access by selling out for press credentials first chance you get, kowtowing to corporations and tradeshows and playing nice; you earn your respect by fact finding, reporting, having untouchable integrity, provocative coverage and gaining readers through your reputation for those things. Our prank pays homage to the notion of independence and independent reporting. And no matter how much access the companies give us, we won’t ever stop being irreverent. That’s what this prank was about and what the press should understand.

“Untouchable integrity”? Intentionally interfering with the operations of a business during a presentation is now considered “untouchable integrity”? And to lift your antics to such lofty levels to say it “pays homage to the notion of independence and independent reporting” is nauseating, at best. How was this reporting? At what point during this “homage” did it lead to anything more than a self-gratifying night of giggling as these people edited together video snippets of their acting like asses?

Mr. Lam tries to liken his site’s reporting to great journalism, but I hate to burst his delusional bubble of self-importance… he writes about gadgets. Yes, it is a multi-billion dollar industry, but at the end of the day, it’s still just shiny, expensive toys. This style of reporting isn’t saving lives, it isn’t uncovering government corruption, it’s not reporting on genocidal crises such as Darfur, or the current unrest in Kenya, it’s expensive toys. Nothing more, nothing less.

This isn’t to say gadget bloggers shouldn’t be considered journalists, it’s no different than someone working at a newspaper as a food critic; that person is still a journalist, just of a different stripe. And gadget bloggers could be seen as journalists someday, but we won’t ever get their if we continue to over inflate our importance in the world of journalism, or as long as we pull grade school pranks.

Gizmodo should have said “mea culpa”, taken their lumps, and moved on, instead they decided to alienate themselves from the rest of the industry. Good job.

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