by Jerome Armstrong, Sat Jan 15, 2005 at 07:37:57 AM EST
One thing here still sucks, and that is, there are a number of bloggers, like Ed Cone, Glenn Reynolds and Jeff Jarvis, whom have blogged this current matter within the "ethics of blogging" realm of discussion they blog about abstractly. But what I've not seen anyone yet blog about within that sphere is the ethics that Zephyr Teachout put on display for the world to see. Sure, she's in that circle, but maybe those bloggers determined to figure out a code or standard for all of us should first reflect on their own ethics in propogating the discussion of this matter within the blogosphere. Reader p lukasiak has a statement for the "ethics of blogging" campus group that I'd concur with:How to raise ethical questions/issues...
...someone who is seriously interested in a discussion of ethics is not going to do so by raising questions about the ethics of specific individuals. They will do so by posing a general question.
Now, if Zephyr was interested solely in the ethical questions involved that she wanted raised during the conference on "Journalism, Blogging, and Credibility" she would have posted something like...
"Most news organizations have a strict prohibitions against journalists taking money from those they write about. When George Will was paid by a politican campaign with debate preparation, then wrote about the debate in his syndicated column, most people recognized it as a violation of journalistic ethics.
But what happens when a blogger takes money from those he writes about? Does the subjective nature of blogging change the ethical equation in any degree? Is there a difference between a blogger who accepts campaign advertising, and one who provides non-political technology assistance to a campaign? What kind of "best practices" can we suggest to bloggers who want to operate ethically? Is the presence of an ad, or a general disclaimer, on a website enough to tell the reader that the blogger has a financial relationship with a campaign, or should the existence of the ad be disclaimed whenever the blogger posts about that campaign?"
THAT is how a mature person who is interested solely in the ethical questions involved would have approached the issue.
What Zephyr did, in fact, was unethical. Why she is taking part in the Berkman Center panel that will include a discussion of blogging ethics, when she so clearly lacks ethics herself, is beyond me.I would also like to point out that Taegan Goddard of Political Wire was the only blogger that bothered to email and ask about the accusations before posting them on his blog. One standard of journalism is that you fact-check before you post, but in terms of reporting stories according to journalistic standards, did the others first blogging the story bother to email me asking about the accusations? No. I had to email both Glenn Reynolds and Ed Cone (he owned up) to respond to the accusations, and Zephyr Teachout (she apologized privately, but not publically) to demand she followup with a clarification.
Ponder that blogging ethicists.
The Berkman Center and the Harvard conference blog seem very concerned with figuring out some sort of ethical code for the political bloggers to follow in regards to disclosing clients clients to their readers. Fine, let them go along about their discussions, while we here wage online politics against the Republicans. When it gets to the point where Congress passes a law, and the FEC applies, then (and only then) will it matter in the real world. But if the Berkman center and the Harvard conference blog want a case study on ethics and blogging, well, gmab, look among your own fellows.