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Unreliable narrators

The changing role of the source (Scripting News):

The new reality for all publications is that their sources can go direct. It's just like every other activity that the Internet touches, disintermediation happens.
Except, of course, technologists.
This is a much bigger story than they were aiming for -- it's the still unwritten story of the blogosphere. Wired has a chance to get this scoop that has been out there for the getting for more than ten years, even though, ironically, I wrote much of the story myself, when I was at HotWired -- before leaving, to bootstrap blogging.
For even more irony, here's the best argument against sources going direct I've yet seen. When you think about this, the real complaint here is that reporters have the temerity to not just simply agree with his self-assessment. A lot of this is typical "do you know who I am?" self-aggrandizement. The real problem with interviews is that you're not completely in control of the message at all times and might make a mistake. Jarvis bemoans this possible situation as the "gotcha" moment, which he promptly sets up a convenient straw man in a struggle between ambushing journalists and the bloogersphere's noble quest for pure, sparkling "information." What I see it as is the disintermediation of "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."

Furthermore, what does this say about a culture which recently got its shorts into a wad about "owning your own words?" There's really no more immediate way to own your own words than to say them face to face with another human being. Electronic forms of media allow too many opportunities for tampering. If I am a reporter and send you email questions, I have no way of knowing whether what I get back from you was actually written by you. Oh, sure it, can come from your email address, but I have no way of knowing you actually wrote it. If it's on your blog, same thing. Even worse, you can delete at will from your blog with no accountablity at all. Meatworld, sometimes called "real life", is much messier, as it always has been. It's impossible, but improbable, to fake a phone interview, but pretty well nigh impossible to fake a face-to-face interview.

I think it's a great idea to post unedited recordings of interviews, and important archivally; but this whole "email me the questions and I'll get back to you at some point" thing is just nothing more than arrogance.

It's the same complaint that the powerful have always had about the press: they don't just repeat what I say. They ask pesky difficult questions I don't want to answer. They put me on the spot.

Oh it's a great big circle, it is.

Circle jerk, maybe. Deal with it.

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