October 28, 2005

Scaredy Cats

Wow! Forbes is really scared of blogs and bloggers!

Please go and read the whole thing. It's so worth your time if for no other reason than choice quotes like this:

{...}"A blogger can go out and make any statement about anybody, and you can't control it. That's a difficult thing,"says Steven Down, general manager of bike lock maker Kryptonite, owned by Ingersoll-Rand and based in Canton,Mass. {...}

Oh, God Forbid that should ever come to pass! People making statements! It's just as if dogs and cats were getting it on in the backyard! Break out the smelling salts, Mildred, I'm feeling a wee bit faint!

It's hard to tell if this article is actually for real. I have to assume it is, but sheesh. It makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Seriously, though, the hyperventilating, Chicken Little tone of this article is absolutely ridiculous. While I don't doubt that some blogs are strictly attack blogs, that the medium is manipulated by evil-doers and pr hacks alike, and that there are people for whom the words "slander" and "lying" have no meaning, the author, Daniel Lyons, refuses to mention anything good that has come from blogs. There is not one example of something good coming out of blogs that he chooses to list. Blogs are all evil, all the time. I can't even begin to list the ways this shows this man has no idea what he's dealing with. For example:

{...}Even some bloggers see the harm they can pose. "Some people in the blogosphere are too smug about free speech. They'll say it's okay if people get slandered or if people make up fake stuff because in the end the truth wins out," says John Hinderaker, a lawyer in Minneapolis, Minn. who helps run a right-wing blog, Power Line, which hounded CNN's Jordan and CBS anchor Dan Rather. "But I don't think that excuses it."

When Hinderaker published an item saying left-wing bloggers should stop assaulting a White House reporter alleged to have worked as a gay prostitute, his blog brethren went on the assault, publishing his phone number at work and prompting a deluge of harassing phone calls and e-mails. "My secretary was crying" because callers kept swearing at her, he says. "Then we started getting calls at the house. My wife wanted to hire a bodyguard." {...}

Yeah, Powerline simply "hounded" Dan Rather. There was no benefit in keeping a network news anchor honest during a highly contested and partisan presidential election? Mmmhmmm. Sounds exactly like one of Lyons' complaints about blogs. But it would seem as if none of this is relevant to Lyons: he's only interested in WHEN BLOGGERS ATTACK BLOGGERS! Like it was a horror movie from the 1950's or a Dateline special report with Maria Shriver circa 1996. If you were to only listen to Lyons take on the matter, why, that horrible Hinderaker got what he deserved!

Which segues nicely into a sidebar from the article: Lyons goes so far as to publish a DIY "How to Fight Back" manual. You know, what you should do in the event of a blogger leveling a smear campaign against you or your corporation. His suggestions include:

MONITOR THE BLOGOSPHERE. Put your own people on this or hire a watchdog (Cymfony, Intelliseek or Biz360, among others). Spot blog smears early, before they can spread, and stamp them out by publishing the truth.

START YOUR OWN BLOG. Hire a blogger to do a company blog or encourage your employees to write their own, adding your voice to the mix.{...}

But wait, it gets better.

ATTACK THE HOST. Find some copyrighted text that a blogger has lifted from your Web site and threaten to sue his Internet service provider under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That may prompt the ISP to shut him down. Or threaten to drag the host into a defamation suit against the blogger. The host isn't liable but may skip the hassle and cut off the blogger's access anyway. Also:Subpoena the host company, demanding the blogger's name or Internet address. {...}

It's laughable how out of touch Forbes is on this. Crikeys. People pay good money to this magazine to find out what's going on in business and this is the product they provide? Sheesh. I'm glad we don't pay for our Forbes subscription; it's a gift from the father-in-law. Because after this I'm not really sure that I would take anything they wrote seriously.

{Hat Tip: Mike at Tech Dirt}

Posted by Kathy at October 28, 2005 12:26 AM | TrackBack
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