Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The credibility issue is growing old

A New York Times story deals with attempts by Wal-Mart to influence public opinion by feeding bloggers information and ideas that would help the company's image. The Times warns "...the strategy raises questions about what bloggers, who pride themselves on independence, should disclose to readers." Inspite of this, no one in the article claims that Wal-Mart attempted to hideout as an anonymous source.

Contrast the Times article with the scolding the paper's public editor gave over its problem with anonymous sources.
"We need to get our policies hard-wired into the brains of our reporters and editors that we are obliged to tell readers how we know what we know," Bill Keller told me the other day. "There are cases when we can't, for excellent reasons - but they have to be exceptional, and they have to be explained to the reader." He also said, when I asked why the last policy iteration didn't take, "We're still a little new at this." Fair enough - but the credibility issue is growing old.
I suspect that Wal-Mart grew weary of waiting for the New York Times to report fairly and decided to fly over their heads. The Times expends its energy trying to discredit blogs rather than reform it's practices.


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