Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Clooneygate: A Blogging Scandal

A scandal has ravaged the blogosphere. Dubbed "Clooneygate" by the New York Times, the scandal involves a post allegedly made by George Clooney on the blog HuffingtonPost.com. And its implications may effect bloggers everywhere.

In Clooney's alleged post, he goes on a left-wing rant which included such statements as "I am a liberal. And I make no apologies for it. Hell, I'm proud of it. Too many people run away from the label. They whisper it like you'd whisper "I'm a Nazi." Like it's dirty word," and "Bottom line: it's not merely our right to question our government, it's our duty. Whatever the consequences. We can't demand freedom of speech then turn around and say, But please don't say bad things about us. You gotta be a grown up and take your hits. I am a liberal. Fire away."

Though it's somewhat easy to imagine these words leaving the impassioned fingers of Mr. Clooney as he sat banging away on a computer somewhere. But the the truth is they didn't. According to a statement released by Clooney "These are not my writings — they are answers to questions and there is a huge difference."It turned out that the post was just old quotes from published interviews that Clooney had done that were put together and given a little added pizazz by HuffingtonPost's creator Arianna Huffington.

Yet, Clooney's statement sums up the entire issue at hand: the purity of blogs. According to Huffington in a later post she says even though the writings weren't Clooney's, "the medium isn't the message; the message is the message." This implied that even though the message was falisfied, it does not effect the credibility of the blog to function as a source of information. And to many this idea attacks blogging's essence.

Anyone with any background in the media already knows the huge error in Huffington's statement. Since the posts on a blog are a mere extension of the blog itself, in the blogosphere the media and the message work simultaneously. When users visit a blog they become engrossed with the writing style of the blogger (or guest writers), they become familiar with the layout and design of the site, and most of all the trust the authenticity of the blogger. According to Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine.com ""If you're not really writing your blog, if you're having or allowing someone else to do it for you, then you're gaming me, lying to me, insulting me." With blogging becoming a force to be reckoned with in the media world, such insults will not be tolerated.

A Guest Blogger, and an Unwritten Law

The "Clooney" Post

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