Monday, March 3, 2008

Tidbits of Dangers--Potential and Not--in the B'sphere

First it was the outing of Prince Harry and the backlash from big media outlets that the Drudge Report had 'disobeyed' the embargo for discussing Harry's whereabouts as a British soldier.

As for putting the prince in any high danger in Afghanistan?: thwarted, though not without plenty of backlash.

Secondly, perhaps this is a case of Megan Meier 2.0, but commenters on the blogs AdScam and AgencySpy are targeting the two sites for contributing to the suicide of Paul Tilley, DDB Chicago's managing director for creative. The reactions to his death have been confused if not consistently pointing to Tilley's being known as a complicated man. But what's so interesting is that within the blogosphere, fingers have been pointing left and right as to who caused Tilley's death (he was only 40 years old).

AdAge has an interesting piece that criticizes all of the speculation and blame-gaming, and the New York Times has set up their Readers' Comments section today for discussion on the question of: What responsibility do you think Web sites bear for the comments they host?

This question also goes back to a (fairly) recent exchange of hostilities between Bill O'Reilly and Arianna Huffington, during which O'Reilly blasted HuffPo for championing hate speech. O'Reilly accused HuffPo's anonymous commenters for their disparaging comments about Nancy Reagan. But, then he went so far as to claim Huffington was a Nazi--and not back down after coming under fire for his comments.

So, how do anonymous responses play into the ethics of blogging? What impact--and to what extent--do they have on the safety and danger that we face on a daily basis? What happens to our accountability for our actions? Who (or what), ultimately, is to blame?

1 comment:

Cathy Mullins said...

You ask the toughest questions. And good on ya for that.
There have been situations where I needed to be anonymous -- leaving critical comments about $cientology (before the current spate of disparaging remarks) when it was smart to stay off their radar. I have a blog that is one long rant about toxic chemicals and I do not have my name on it. I figure it's so specific, anyone not interested in my rant can leave.
Perhaps the onus is on the site admin/owner to police the comments and make judgments about what will stay and what will go. Where is the civilization in allowing anyone to say anything? It's a hard balancing act.