Should The Fort Hood Tragedy Be Reduced To Linkbait?

Nov 8th, 2009 | By | Category: Citizen Media

citizen-mediaPodcasting pioneer Dave Winer is taking TechCrunch to task over a linkbait article on the Fort Hood tragedy.

TechCrunch’s Paul Carr argues that the Fort Hood tragedy shows that citizen journalism is worthless:

For all the sound and fury, citizen journalism once again did nothing but spread misinformation at a time when thousands people with family at the base would have been freaking out already, and breach the privacy of those who had been killed or wounded. We learned not a single new fact, nor was a single life saved.

Winer responds:

This is how TechCrunch works. They write something stupid, then people write rebuttals explaining how it’s stupid, building flow and page rank.

Winer goes on to point out the obvious – that you can’t make broad conclusions based on one extreme incident like this and that it’s sleazy to do so:

This is Logic 101 and Carr failed it. And since he’s bright, assume he failed it on purpose.

He’s using people’s pain not just for his own self-glorification but also to build flow to attract more ads and money. It’s two levels of disgusting.

It’s wrong, too, for Carr to act like everybody that has a cell phone is a “citizen journalist”.

Most people Tweeting and posting photos to the web aren’t doing anything that they would consider “citizen journalism” or doing anything that anyone else would reasonably consider citizen journalism.

For Carr to trash the idea of citizen journalism based on one person’s tweets is no different than the uninformed generalization that blogging is nothing but people in their basement ranting about what they ate for lunch – or that podcasting is a bunch of self-centered people talking about themselves.

Random tweets aren’t citizen journalism – but then, neither is using Carr trying to reduce a national tragedy to linkbait.

Update: Suw Charman-Anderson has some interesting commentary on this, too.

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No Responses to “Should The Fort Hood Tragedy Be Reduced To Linkbait?”


    I refuse to post this comment on TechCrunch, for obvious reasons.

  2. IntenseDebate duplicated my comment 6 times, but worse than that, actually truncates the URL here.. If you navigate to the source, the link is fine.

    To truncate a URL you should truncate the displayed text, not the URL underneath.

    <> http://URL_DONT_TRUNC… <>

    • James Lewin says:

      Richard – I removed IntenseDebate a few months ago because of this problem and several others, and the tech support at IntenseDebate appeared to be a black hole.

      Sorry for the inconvenience. I removed the duplicates.

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