Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Guido Fawkes (Sort of) on Youtube

Wasn’t it you, Our Man in Abiko, who recommended Guido Fawkes as a U.K. political blog? Well here he is with a couple of journalists, engaging in some mutual sniping. I think the video clip illustrates beautifully the relationship between the mainstream media, blogs (there should be a better word than blogosphere, which has never been cool, like “cyberspace” used to be), and the news and its subjects. I think Paul Staines aka Guido Fawkes had a few weak moments, but perhaps that’s the price you pay when you can’t edit your words before you go public. AndBut I suspect that even his supporters will find this version funny.

One of the journalists claimed that blogs were mostly commentary—the implication being that journalists, unlike bloggers, actually went to the sources for firsthand information. There’s some truth to that (although Paul Staines claimed to have his own sources), but it reminded me of a recent event where a freelance journalist told me that most of my points attacking a Newsweek report on the Nishimatsu scandal was commentary. That was particularly rich, since the main named sources that the Newsweek report cited also happened to be commentary—one a real live blogger! Incidentally, if anyone’s still interested, I’ve put my elaboration of several more of those points on my Globaltalk21 Raw blog. I’ll post them here after I edit them, though I’m not sure anymore whether the article and the accusations which prompted me to elaborate them is worthy of any more of my attention. Verily, England is the homeland of the snark.

Here’s another one about access to sources that implies that there may be something to be said for the kisha club cartel system, which provides at least some protection for reporters who fall afoul of their sources. You may also have noticed that Paul Staines—if it is indeed he—is wearing a wedding ring. So some bloggers do have a life…


Our Man in Abiko said...

Good job on the videos. I particularly enjoyed the sock puppets. Guido came off as a little juvenile, but better that, than the stuffed shirt of the Guardian ass. editor who dissed Guido for wearing a rugby shirt instead of a tie, the oik that he is.

datsun kildare said...

he revealed his source in this one which was particularly embarassing-Nick Robinson of the BBC.

not his finest hour by any stretch of the imagination

datsun kildare said...

he's had the latest laugh here

Jun Okumura said...

HAHA. I think Guido and the Guardian editor both revealed more of themselves than they would have liked, but Guido came across as the more sympathetic figure. Guido did make more mistakes, but they’re correctible with experience, whereas the editor’s flaw was more attitudinal—look down on the little guy, and you lose even when you win. The editor reminded me of professional journalists who responded angrily and condescendingly to Stephen Colbert’s Gridiron Club speech. The Western press may not have a kisha club system, but there’s a certain clubbiness there that does extend to its subjects.

I have a little sympathy for McBride actually. If everything that I said during the course of my professional life had been recorded and found its way into the public domain, I’m sure that I would have been on my own much sooner than I would have liked. It’s somewhat like those bits and pieces of embarrassing photos and videos being passed around that people come to regret instantly and for the rest of their lives. So, dirt-cheap ubiquity has its drawbacks for old folks like me. I think that younger people for whom anything that came before Google is ancient history are growing up with a different sense of privacy. I think that’s one of the things Facebook is about.