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Gawker stirs feathers at CES 2008, and inadvertently proves ... "something"

Unless you decided to forgo all CES coverage from DailyTech and the rest of the Internet, you've probably stumbled across the Gizmodo video "The meanest things we did at CES."

For those who haven't seen the video, in a nutshell it's a recap of all the press events and booths Gizmodo visited after it turned off the TV monitors with a $5 infrared-zapper.  Some people were mad, others said it was immature, others said it was funny.

Primum non nocere. First, do no harm.  It's funny how only doctors adopted the mentality, though it was Hippocrates' intention that his guidelines of Epidemics apply to all.  Even the errant journalist. 

Nobody wants to be a real journalist.  A real journalist would be completely transparent. Like some sort of Schrodinger Cat of the Macro, a journalist fixes his world in a state just by observing it. 

The CNETs of the world who were critical of Gizmodo's decision are just as guilty of influencing and changing the world they report on.  I suppose what Lam authorized is no different from the times we've walked into booths and "illicitly" benchmarked Barcelona or something of the sort.

We have a word for the transparent journalist that does no harm. It's "press-release-rewriter."

Brian Lam, editor of Gizmodo, illustrates this somewhat cleverly in a thinly veiled insult to a critical CNET blog.  "The point is that if we do things the way you do them at CNet, we're CNet. If you do things the way Giz and Engadget do them, you're actually ... Crave." (Crave is CNET's gadget blog.)

I'd be hard pressed to find a single significant publication that does not cross the boundaries of what Hippocrates would consider harm.  DailyTech writer and CNET veteran Steve Kovsky describes the media as a weapon, but the author doesn't get to pick who he points it at.  Laws change based on some covert report; stock prices tumble because someone published a report; companies lose clients based on scathing reports.  Perhaps intended, but perhaps not. 

For those interested in how Gizmodogate played out, the company that organizes CES "banned" Gawker Media and Gizmodo from the show next year. 

It's funny, I always thought the journalist was accountable to no one.

Perhaps Lam's experiment is a good exercise in what differentiates John Q. Public from the actual journalist with empirical proof.  A random CES attendee would also face some serious repercussions -- perhaps jail time -- if he didn't own one of the largest tech trade publications in the world.   Roll this event up in the heap of other asinine things people get away with in the name of journalism.

The difference between Lam and a hypothetical presentation saboteur is that Lam will certainly be at CES next year.  There's absolutely no physical way CEA can prevent some kid from walking into CES and taking pictures for Gizmodo.

Accountability should not be confused with lip service. We, the readers and lawmakers and publishers, determine what defines journalism.  Don't expect CEA to do it for us.


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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Inkjammer on 1/12/2008 9:53:14 PM , Rating: 2
t
quote:
I think the NYT is doing the right thing in disclosing questionable or controversial government actions. I don't see how that correlates to the sophmoric antics of the Gizmodo kids, however.
But that's just it - you can't compare the two. The New York Times is about as fun as a cinderblock while Gizmodo is often humorous, light tech reading. Gizmodo is sort of a blog version of Think Geek with a dash of Woot. It's about having fun while covering some interesting gadgets.

And $10 says they got the infrared remote from Think Geek, too.


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