Two stories have spread like wildfire around the blogosphere over the last couple of days. The first one was Sony’s decision to remove Kotaku from its favoured sources because Kotaku leaked a rumour after Sony asked them not to, and the second accusing Wired of deliberately trying to make Digg look bad, because it is owned by Conde Naste who also happen to own Reddit.
What I found really hard to understand is why so many bloggers were so incensed by these stories. In the ‘old media’ world neither of these stories would have created any ripples. In the case of the Sony Vs Kotaku story, what exactly did Sony do that was so wrong? All they asked from Kotaku was some discretion about leaking Sony stories, in return for Sony continuing to grant Kotaku access to its inner sanctum. This is a common practice in old media where reporters are regularly asked not to break certain news, in return for gaining access to potentially even bigger scoops in the future. I’m not saying that Kotaku were wrong to break the rumour, but I feel that they should have accepted the consequences more gracefully.
In the case of Wired/Reddit/Conde Nast Vs Digg story, I thought it was very sad that many bloggers including the highly respected Michael Arrington would even dare to question the integrity of a respected publication such as Wired.
As Valleywag quite rightly point out, Conde Nast is such a vast organisation that the majority of the time the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, so it is highly unlikely that a co-ordinated ‘slur campaign’ could even be orchestrated. The author of the offending Wired article has posted an article on her personal blog which explains exactly this point. At the time of writing it had just received 40 diggs, so I guess anytime now she is unfortunately going to hit the Digg homepage and will surely suffer from the full wrath of Digg users.
Imagine if this story had been The Times Newspaper who are part of News International who also own BSkyB, publishing a bad story or feature about one of BSkyB’s competitors like Virgin Media or BT. Do you think Virgin Media or BT would be complaining about foul play? Do you think anyone would have even mentioned the connection?
I love the way that blogs give individuals a way to communicate their personal views to a large audience in a way never before possible, but the blogosphere really needs to become more responsible about what it does with this power.