Gut Rumbles

May 09, 2005

a code of "ethics"

A lot of people are grumbling about a code of ethics for blogs now, usually after bloggers nailed their lying asses to the wall for some breach of "the code" THOSE malfeasants were supposed to be following when they violated it. I call bullshit.

I am not a journalist and I don't operate a mainstream blog. I DO, however, believe in my own Code of Ethics. Anything and anybody is fair game.

I tip-toe the line at "malicious intent," but I believe that someone offended by what I write would have a difficult time proving that I have a "reckless disregard for the truth." I make no bones about being malicious sometimes. But unlike the Mainstream Media, I don't lie about it. THEY are the ones who display a reckless disregard for the truth.

I read posts such as this one and I worry about what blogging may mutate into one of these days. Blogging right now reminds me of some free-wheeling jam-sessions I had with musicians in my life. Let it go and let it flow. Have a drink and play loud. Sing your ass off. Those were good times.

But this worries me:

Now, it may be that we blog in a rarefied part of the blogosphere. Most of the blogs we read are written by law professors or lawyers, and we operate under a set of professional norms; as Larry noted, norms constrain behavior. Few of us blog anonymously, and even those who do blog with colleagues who surely know who they are. No one blogs anonymously to mask conflicts of interest or sloppy fact-checking; anonymous blawgers are anonymous to be more honest, not less.

Right now, Gordon and I blog under an unspoken code of human beings, which I'm sure is broader than the journalistic code of ethics. I would hate for us to aim lower in our standards.

You should never HAVE to blog anonymously. But a lot of people do, because this shit can cost you your job. I KNOW!!! It happened to me.

I'm going to go back to the Den Beste Theory and admit that 90% of blogs are pure crap. But I see a division in the ranks happening here, where some people consider what they write to be "serious" blogs while I think their crap is boring. But we're already getting an elitist mentality intruding into what once was a "Deadwood" kind of town, wide-open and wild.

Do I have a "serious" blog? FUCK NO, I don't. I just want to write well and entertain the readers who visit me. I'm not out to change the world or bring the New York Times to its knees. What is this shit? "Most of the blogs we read are written by law professors or lawyers." Well, good for you, honey. 90% of THOSE blogs are crap, too.

I've had some experience dealing with how ethical lawyers are. I don't want to play by their "code." And I won't do it on my blog.

If you don't like it, sue me.


Great post.

Hell, I'm a newbie solidly in that 90%! But for entertainment or ethics, I'll take each blog on my roll over the NY Times--every day and twice on Sundays.

Thanks for the ethical heads up, NYT.

Posted by: Mike on May 9, 2005 05:47 PM

i don't think the NYT guy is saying that about blogs like yours. i think he's saying that about people who harp on the MSM as a nearly-exclusive blog subject.

it still sounds like sour grapes, though.

Posted by: not-troll beth on May 9, 2005 06:54 PM

I like your code just fine.

Posted by: marcl on May 9, 2005 07:52 PM

I couldn't agree with you more.. Your code is the same as mine.

Jam on!

Posted by: chaos on May 9, 2005 08:00 PM

Here's the code I keep on my blog (stripped of any flowery language I might inadvertently have used in the past):

This is my blog. I have absolute power over all that happens here, and there are no safeguards against my abusing that power, except my good graces. Squander those at your peril.

Posted by: McGehee on May 9, 2005 08:35 PM

They can try to gentrify Deadwood all they want, some of us will always be around to make sure there's a bad side of town.

Out here due process is a foul mouthed fisking, and if they don't like it they can fuck off.

My blog, paid for with my money, my rules, no compromise. Period.

Posted by: Graumagus on May 9, 2005 08:57 PM

99% is more accurate these days.

Posted by: rightisright on May 9, 2005 09:04 PM

If those people are only reading blogs written by lawyers and law professors, they should try expanding their horizons. I think most of the blogs I read are written by either computer people or ordinary citizens, and I can truthfully say I have no complaints. I certainly won't go to the MSM for actual news. I would rather analyze the facts for myself. They can keep their bias to themselves. As for my blog, if I make a mistake in a post, I expect someone to call me on it, and I'll correct it. I won't post anything just to hurt someone. But I won't avoid a controversial topic if someone wants to discuss it, either.

Posted by: Denise on May 10, 2005 03:00 AM

After several centuries of listening to the wisdom of lawyers and law professors (sorry Glenn!), isn't it time to listen to the People?

Posted by: Brett on May 10, 2005 07:38 AM

Thank God for blogging, even if a good portion of it appears to have gone to shit already. The Main Stream outlets are getting to look more like Pravda and Tass every day.

Posted by: JG22 on May 11, 2005 12:35 AM
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