Gizmodo staffer banned from CES

by Paul William Tenny

Not exactly TV or film news here, but "media" has pretty broad definitions, no?

CES is a yearly electronics show where companies like Sony get to show off their newest, most expensive toys to a mob-sized press that probably couldn't afford most of it. They spend a ton of cash at this event and it's critical to how they do business. I don't think bloggers had ever gotten in until this year, and they were treated like second class citizens from what I hear.

While I'd argue vigorously against such treatment, in the case of CES, it turns out that they weren't quite cautious enough.
The retard at Gizmodo who was covering the event degenerated into an irresponsible highschool brat, running around the showroom floor sabotaging demonstrations by remotely turning off extremely expensive and in some cases prototype television displays. As if that weren't bad enough, they had the gall to film it and parade it around their site as if it was funny or something to be proud of.

It was anything but that.

The arguable difference between journalists and bloggers is that the former reports the news, while the ego driven latter isn't content unless it is making the news. But that's not really the point, nor is it the problem. Trying to shoehorn one profession lacking credibility into another that has a great deal -- sometimes -- is why people take offense at suggesting that one can be the other and doesn't solve the problem at all.

Bloggers are bloggers and journalists are journalists, each filling separate roles with each following their own rules for conduct. In the case of blogging, there generally aren't any rules to speak of, which is definitely part of the problem.

One can act like the other, but they just aren't the same thing. Bloggers are really just glorified editorialists of the exact same breed you'll find in the pages of the New York Times or Washington Post, that would rather sit at home behind their keyboards lecturing like professors who were too lazy to actually become one, rather than going out into the world and reporting back what they've seen, and working for it.

The words responsibility and integrity simply aren't in the bloggers vocabulary.

That's not to say that bloggers can't report news, they can and they do all the time, but then all you've got is a blogger reporting news, you don't magically have a journalist just because the sit-at-home guy decided to repeat facts for a while rather than patronize the planet.

The Gizmodo pankster who apparently got into CES under real press credentials and not as a blogger -- which makes it even worse -- has been rightly banned from the event for life. This isn't a matter of a joke being overblown, it's a complete betrayal of trust between Gizmodo, and CES and the public.

For anyone that would defend that kind of crap, I'd ask if this is any different than a reporter for the Times going to a demonstration by the Defense Dept. showing off the latest radar technology, only to have that reporter get off on adolescent pranking by vandalizing the equipment or otherwise interfering with the story they were supposed to be writing about.

That would almost certainly make national headlines, result in the immediate firing of the reporter, a blacklisting by all other news organizations, and probably criminal charges.

Save for the headlines, every one of those consequences were possible for the Gizmodo "reporter" who disrupted CES and it's alarming to see that the only result was a lifetime ban from that single event, for that one person. At the very least, said person should have been fired on the spot, the video taken down, and an immediate public apology issued from Gawker to CES and every single participant who spent time and money there.

Until Gawker Media owner Nick Denton explains what he's done to make certain such a thing will never happen again, that entire company has lost whatever credibility it had, and looks every bit the amateurish blog it has been accused of being.

At the very least, Gawker ought to be banned from MacWorld until it has been resolved publicly that it was a mistake in judgment by the "reporter" accompanied by a personal and site-wide apology, and that the serious flaws in management and oversight at Gizmodo have been rectified to prevent an employee from doing something like this in the future.

To be clear, while the problem began with the person pulling the trigger, it doesn't stop there. It has been said that this intentional disruption at CES was planned ahead of time and the fact it was later celebrated on the site itself shows a clear lack of competent oversight by the site editor and anyone that sits between the two.

To that end, frankly, the editor ought to be reprimanded and possibly fired as well.

Unless these things happen, or Denton issues a statement that assures the public, CES, and other trade shows that actions have been taken to prevent future incidents, there's just no way that site can be trusted to report fairly and accurately on much of anything. I strongly suggest people consider visiting Gizmodo's competition for the time being until Gawker gets the message that taking no action at all is no where near good enough.

Read more about this disgrace around the web.

Never mind about the editor-should-be-reprimanded thing, this is actually worse: the staffer behind this crap was the Gizmodo editor, Brian Lam, and he's the one who has been banned from CES for life. Now what needs to happen is a real apology -- a blog post that amounts to "We're sorry" doesn't cut it -- from Gawker to CES and every company that attended, because those were the ones hurt by this unacceptable stunt.

After that, Lam needs to step down if Denton doesn't have the courage to fire him. It would have been bad enough if a regular staff writer had done this, but to have the sites managing editor do it is beyond the pale.

Either Lam goes, or his site's credibility does. Take your pick.
in Internet


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