Posts tagged with ‘mg siegler

Dan Lyons and the art of the changeup

Dan Lyons:

Hit men, click whores, and paid apologists: Welcome to the Silicon Cesspool

Separately another VC recently told me his firm recently had passed on opportunities to invest in some new tech blogs that were proposing a business model he described as “hush money.” Potential investors were being offered “most favored nation” status for themselves and their portfolio companies if they put money into the site.

This is what now passes for “journalism” in Silicon Valley: hired guns and reformed click-whores who have found a way to grab some of the loot for themselves. This is perhaps not surprising. Silicon Valley once was home to scientists and engineers — people who wanted to build things. Then it became a casino. Now it is being turned into a silicon cesspool, an upside-down world filled with spammers, liars, flippers, privacy invaders, information stealers — and their grubby cadre of paid apologists and pygmy hangers-on.

Dan Lyons:

Guess who else wants to “monetize his influence” and become a blogger slash angel investor?

Yeah. Good grief. Fucking Scoble. I just posted an article about it here on the Daily Beast.

Dan Lyons:

So: Godspeed, Robert Scoble. May the force be with you—and with all the other hacks for hire who will soon be following in your footsteps.

Dan Lyons:

I’ve been responding to comments on a post about my article on the Daily Beast today about Robert Scoble looking to get involved with an angel fund. This has set off a bit of a debate about online journalism and whether we’re all a bunch of click whores…

This is not to say one group is better than the other. Bloggers can do this, but mainstream reporters play by a different set of rules than bloggers. Having been both a blogger and a mainstream media guy, I see value on both sides. I definitely know which side was more fun. If bloggers can find ways to get rich off their blogs, more power to them.

Oh, fuck off, Dan Lyons. If that’s not what you were trying to say, you’ve got an awfully interesting way of not saying it. Everyone saw where the goalposts were, and it’s pretty clear that you’re now trying to move them.

Let’s be real, here: Dan Lyons doesn’t write anything particularly interesting about tech and no one really cares when he does make a feeble attempt to do so.

Because of that, he appears to be incredibly jealous of the reach of some of the internet’s more popular (and more outspoken) bloggers. He even admits this (via a hypothetical) in the first article linked above:

It’s tough being a journalist, especially if you’re covering technology and living in Silicon Valley, because it seems as if everyone around you is getting fabulously rich while you’re stuck in a job that will never, ever make you wealthy. What’s worse is that all these people who are getting rich don’t seem to be any brighter than you are and in fact many of them don’t seem very bright at all. So of course you get jealous. 

This jealously is manifesting in increasingly personal attack rants and is taking up time that could (presumably) be better spent being relevant as a tech reporter for The Daily Beast. 

I’m not sure Lyons ever got over the fact that he’s never been more popular (and probably never will be more popular) than he was back when he was pretending to be a man he seemed to despise.

And, of course, having retired Fake Steve Jobs, his only chance at staying relevant seems to be publicly shitting on people he’s clearly jealous of.

Ouch.

No one gives a shit about mainstream tech journalists these days. Those of us who care about technology news get better reviews and timelier information from popular tech blogs than we’ll ever get from people like Dan Lyons, and I’m sure that’s an awfully hard pill for some in the old guard to swallow. Especially those who fall into the category of too old to change, too young to retire. 

Instead of accepting that and putting his head down and doing the “real” work he claims “real” journalists do, Lyons is going to spend the rest of his career pleading with people to give a fuck that technology blogs don’t live up to his expectations. The problem is, most people who read tech blogs don’t share those expectations.

He knows it’s not going to change anything, but at least it’ll drive some clicks.

Arringtown and MG-Boys

There’s an early scene in the skate documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys where team Zephyr crashes a 1970s skateboarding competition, hoping to demonstrate new tricks. They were full of attitude and ego. They were also, by and large, thuggish assholes with a huge chip on their shoulder.

MG Siegler and Kara Swisher: Skirmish!

TechCrunch’s MG Siegler today posted a somewhat boring article regarding the recent Wall Street Journal scoop (speculation?) regarding the release of a Verizon iPhone in early 2011. 

Siegler insinuates that WSJ author Yukari Iwatani Kane was “fed” this story (and several others) by Apple execs. The idea, of course, is that Apple can control the message by handing “scoops” to favored journalists at outlets such as the WSJ:

Now, I of course don’t know for sure that Apple fed WSJ this story — but let’s look at the recent history. In January, as rumors were swirling about the iPad, the WSJ had a story suggesting the tablet computer could run around $1,000. At the time, I pointed out why this reeked of Apple setting expectations low so they could blow them out of the water. A few days later, a former Marketing Manager at Apple backed this up. The result? Steve Jobs on stage announcing the iPad would start at just $499. Boom.

Enter Kara Swisher:

No game. HE. [SIEGLER] MADE. IT. UP. I knew the particulars of several of those stories and it was pure shoe leather reporting by Kane on them and she published them when they were done and not on some fictional schedule to help Apple. 

I know it is super interesting to speculate otherwise, but it’s not the case and to smack around someone who does their job with fiction is the height of hackery.

BTW, I no longer work for the Journal, although we have the same owner (no, we don’t plit secretly together), but it’s simply unfair to a really good reporter.

Interesting.

Before reading Swisher’s comment, I didn’t even really think about Siegler’s claims. Now, though, it’s interesting to me when I consider this back-and-forth alongside the ongoing “turf wars” that are waged between professional bloggers and professional journalists.

It’s not surprising to me that tech bloggers, a group which tends to rely on anonymous sources and TMZ-styled reporting, would insinuate that mainstream journalists only get their stories by being handed privileged information on a silver platter.

The idea seems to be that journalists don’t ever have to do any real work.

Siegler never offers evidence of a cozy relationship between Apple and Kane, and Swisher seems to deny it.

I suspect the truth lay someone in the middle: The Journal likely has access to Apple and ears in the right places because of the way it operates and because of its cachet in the industry, but this is probably rooted in the sort of “shoe leather reporting” that Swisher mentions in her comment. Boring stuff like making calls, asking questions, waiting for responses, etc. You know: Journalism.

It’s really the difference between having respect, and not having it and bloggers are really touchy about the fact that they often don’t have it. Though, they do their best to make believe they don’t want or need it.

Still, none of that is the same thing as sitting around and waiting for Steve Jobs (or someone acting on Jobs’s behalf) to call in with a scoop, and that’s really what Siegler seems to believe is happening. 

Yet, why would Kane continue to report scoops from a source that, according to Siegler, purposefully fed her false information regarding the price of the as-of-then unreleased iPad?

Doesn’t make much sense. In the end, this really starts to feel like the complaints/accusations of someone who is upset that a hard worker has been given opportunities.