Ethics Hero: Michael Arrington


Michael Arrington is a tech publisher and blogger who made a good amount of money selling his previous blog, Techcrunch. He bought a boat with some of it, a nice one, with state of the art electronics. On the day his new toy was to be delivered, he had to work through customs and Homeland Security paperwork, since the boat was built in Canada.  Something went wrong, something stupid.  He writes,

“My job was to show up and sign forms and then leave with Buddy (WA sales tax and registration fees come a week later). DHS takes documents supplied by the builder and creates a government form that includes basic information about the boat, including the price. The primary form, prepared by the government, had an error. The price was copied from the invoice, but DHS changed the currency from Canadian to U.S. dollars. It has language at the bottom with serious sounding statements that the information is true and correct, and a signature block.”

It’s serious all right. It is a government form, and signing it is a legal attest that the information is correct. Arrington continues, Continue reading

Trust, the News and Journalist Biases: You Can’t Get There From Here

Over at Tech Crunch, founder Michael Arrington responds to the firing of Octavia Nasr and the resignation of Helen Thomas with this argument:

“I think journalists should have the right to express their opinions on the topics they cover. More importantly, I think readers have a right to know what those opinions are. Frankly, I’d like to know sooner rather than later just how insane some of these people at CNN and Fox News are. To stop them from giving me that information is just another way to lie to me.”

Arrington is right, of course. The pose that journalists are politically objective is almost always a fraud, and efforts by organizations like The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle to prevent their reporters from doing things like attending political rallies for politicians they admire or expressing strong opinions on social websites have nothing to do with preserving journalistic objectivity, but rather with preserving the illusion of journalistic objectivity. “All this bullshit about objectivity in journalism is just a trick journalists use to try to gain credibility, and the public eats it up,” Arrington says.

But Arrington is also wrong.  Continue reading