I love it. Today, Dave Winer posted a long piece, analyzing some anonymous reporter’s silence on an issue which involves the reporter’s employer, and concluding that the guy doesn’t qualify to be called a journalist as a result of his silence. Not eight hours later, though, Dave had to issue a retraction to another big chunk of the piece — it turned out that quite a few of his facts were poorly-researched and totally false.

Now, which quality would you say is a necessary part of the definition of a journalist: the willingness to report on one’s employer, or the willingness to research the facts that one proffers as truth to his readers? I can’t imagine many people will have a difficult time answering this one.

Of course, this all is coming from someone who believes that the essence of journalistic integrity is “never [stating] as fact something you know not to be true.” Note the wording — it’s not “always state that which you know to be true,” but instead, the reverse. By this logic, I can pen an article that accuses the government of orchestrating the events of 9/11, and since I don’t know it not to be true, my journalistic integrity remains intact. It’s really a fascinatingly self-serving way to look at things, and it serves to explain a lot.


he also forgot to mention that the change in systems handling dan’s weblog involved switching away from manila (his own company’s product). so much for full disclosure.

• Posted by: jim winstead on Jun 6, 2002, 9:35 PM

What I’m at a loss to understand is why he went to all the trouble of hiding Dan Gillmor behind a mysterious “Mr. X” and then he identifies Dan at the bottom of the piece. Was the postscript added as a later addendum? It’s not like regular readers couldn’t figure it out instantly, but still. Weird.

• Posted by: Mark Morgan on Jun 6, 2002, 9:56 PM

The postscript was always a part of the piece, or at least it was part of it when it got mailed out to DaveNet subscribers. I agree, it’s weird.

• Posted by: Jason Levine on Jun 6, 2002, 10:00 PM

C’mon, this is straight-forward Dave Winer behavior. He’s still secretly pissed off that Dan Gillmor’s column is no longer associated with Manila. This has more to do with Dave being offended that someone has chosen not to use his software than it does with “journalistic integrity” of any sort. Read between the lines. This is quintessential Winer.

• Posted by: Damien Barrett on Jun 7, 2002, 8:34 PM

I read it as more than that. I think this was another phase of his basic war on modern journalism. First, assert that weblogs are good journalism. Then, when journalists point out that there are no integrity checks on weblogs send an e-mail to a huge pool of subscibers publicly humilating a (perhaps now former) friend and try to show that journalists have no integrity. Therefore, only trust webloggers as the new journalists. I think the journalists will respond, and he will respond, ad infinitum, trying to prove that weblogs are the new journalism. Or at least that weblogs are as much journalism as that which runs past an editorial process.

But I Could Be Wrong (TM)

• Posted by: Mark Morgan on Jun 7, 2002, 9:04 PM

If only he had come out and disclosed HIS biases (e.g. re dropping Manila), which is something he professes to be able to do and has done on other occasions, it would have been a useful tweak regarding the “breaking the Web” meme.

Instead, it’s classic Dave® burning a friendship (possibly) over a fairly minor issue that is used as a proxy for something he obviously has other reasons to feel deeply about.

Passive aggressive Dave is back. Did he ever leave?

• Posted by: Dan Hartung on Jun 8, 2002, 3:38 PM
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