The recent controversy over the recent CES has gotten everyone hyped up. One Gizmodo editor pulled a prank by turning off a few TVs with a remote and eventually got banned from future conferences.
The debate shifted from being a funny prank to a word-fight between bloggers and legitimate media people. The video was funny the first few seconds.
This prank stirs big debate among bloggers as well as mainstream media to the point that it has turned into bloggers versus journalist (again!). Brian Lam, Editor in Chief of Gizmodo, finished it off with a recent lash against their critics:
Many of our harshest critics have done far worse than clicking off a few TVs. I’m talking about ethical lapses such as accepting paid junkets to Japan by Nikon, or free trips to Korea by Samsung. Turning a blind eye to Apple’s mistakes when they didn’t make an iPhone SDK and sought to lock down the handset. Stock prices torn downward by publishing incorrect leaked info. Writing about companies that also pay you for advertorial podcast work.
And I consider those offenses far worse than our prank, because it ultimately it puts the perpetrators on the wrong team. Every tech journalist has to decide whether or not he’s writing for companies or for readers. When they start writing for the companies, covering all their press releases and regurgitating marketing jargon, you do no one any favors (not even the companies, which already hire press release machines).
Brian makes a valid argument, but I think that’s beside the point. I don’t think he and his team planned out the prank to pay homage to the notion of independence and independent reporting. He’s just officially escalated the debate from a simple question of ethics when pulling a prank to issues of personal credibility, journalistic integrity and independence.
Does Giz deserve their punishment? Rightfully so. If they thought the CES was boring, why cover it? Try pulling the same stunt at MacWorld.
Is Brian Lam justified to pull the “He who hath not sinned cast the first stone” card? I think he’s got balls. But he’s also throwing the same stones back at him and his team.