Posted by Tom Foremski - April 29, 2011
Mike Arrington, the Techcrunch editor who was forced to disclose his investments by Kara Swisher, Editor of All Things Digital, is trying to prove that relationships are a larger problem than money in reporting.
In an interview with Nicholas Carlson, at Business Insider, he says:
I read an article this morning. It was saying [all this worry about investments being a conflict of interest is] kind of ridiculous because this is actually one of the smallest conflicts that tech journalists really have, but it's one that people really freak out about.
It talked about [how] friendship conflicts are the real issue. And they are. We all have our friendships and the people who have done right by us. And I've written about this before, that's the real issue.
What bullshit. We all have relationships but money interest always trumps relationships. It trumps blood relationships too.
There are a billion examples of where it can be shown that a person's financial interest motivated their actions overwhelmingly, overcoming all other relationships, friendly or family.
If the money interest is large enough, and Mr Arrington's certainly are, then that's what will guide his reporting. His efforts to misguide others and to insist that relationships are the true problem are a joke.
Ms Swisher writes that she has doesn't care anymore about Mr Arrington's actions, and that there's no sense in complaining "that a turtle is not a fish." But then don't employ a turtle to do the job of a fish.
This whole affair is making a mockery of AOL's senior management and its claim to be pioneering a new media industry, based on quality and ethical conduct. To exempt Mr Arrington from its ethics code is like saying: "Come to the New AOL - Now 99% Ethical!"