All Tony Pierce, All The Time

I’ve had a series of amusing – head-scratching even – moments with LA Times blog manager Tony Pierce.

There was his delusional claim that Pajamas Media was a DoD ploy…

Then there was his moment in the reflected John Edwards glory – one that, given his early Busboy blog, should have a been a story that Tony owned. Instead he acted as a channel for management’s desire to shut the LAT bloggers up.

Now, as a bonus card, Tony is the only journalist interviewed by Simon Owens of Bloggasm who thinks that the Gizmodo writer who had his computer seized isn’t entitled to the protections due a journalist.

…note that others raised the very real issue that Gizmodo had forked over five grand for a ‘misplaced’ prototype iPhone as a legal bump in their road – but none of them believed that the police raid on the writer’s house – breaking down the door and removing all his computer gear – was legitimate.

Tony’s comment:

But perhaps the most surprising response came from Tony Pierce, the blog editor for the LA Times. Pierce first gained his blogging street cred from his incredibly personal Busblog before landing a gig as editor for LAist. His success there led to his coveted spot at the Times. In a brief G-Chat message to me, he pointed to an interview Gawker founder Nick Denton gave to the Washington Post in which he said that, “We may inadvertently do good. We may inadvertently commit journalism. That is not the institutional intention.”

Pierce’s conclusion?

“So unfortunately I think Gizmodo doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on if their own boss says they don’t really do journalism there.”

You’ve gotta love the journalistic solidarity and attachment to free speech…

6 thoughts on “All Tony Pierce, All The Time”

  1. Um… you think a blogger’s journaistlic solidarity must override the way he sees the truth? He may well be wrong, but criticizing him for not toeing the line on bloggers-vs-police seems, well, wrong. Address his argument and show how he’s wrong by all means; but you seem more outraged that he’s betraying blogger-dom somehow.

    There is a legitimate balance at stake in the Gizmodo/iPhone matter, and I don’t see either side having a particularly supportable moral stance. Before we all declare The Alamo for bloggers, we might want to consider how thuggish, self-interested, and puerile Gizmodo has been – is this really the test case we want to hang blogging-is-journalism on?

    — perry

  2. Address his argument and show how he’s wrong by all means; but you seem more outraged that he’s betraying blogger-dom somehow.

    His argument? His argument is that Gizmodo is not real journalism, so screw them if they get their doors kicked in.

    It takes a lot of air-brushing to paint that as elevating truth over solidarity. It looks like plain old legacy media snootery to me.

    In fact, it looks like a pose. These days there is no better way for a poser to establish his cred as a real journalist than by being an insufferable snob.

  3. And I might add, these days there is no better way to establish yourself as a progressive than to argue, like Napoleon, that what the disobedient rabble really needs is a good dose of grapeshot.

  4. Pierce is just a double moron (My Fair Lady snob, and believes this would have been OK for a ‘real’ journalist, dings him twice). But to me, he’s on the right side for the wrong reasons.

    If Gizmodo paid for the iPhone, then to me, it doesn’t matter whether or not you’re “a journalist.” That’s paid theft, and the police should be kicking in your doors. This should be equally true if you work for the New York Times.

  5. It seems pretty clear that Gawker thought they were okay buying (legally) stolen goods because they were protected by the (CA and federal) shield laws. Legally, the whole thing seems to turn on the meaning of California’s shield law. It’s apparently draconian, vague, and largely untested. Its maximum reading (as put forth by the EFF and by Gawker) is that a journalist cannot be served a warrant, ever. (The federal law has an exception for criminal behavior by the journalist itself. The state law apparently does not. IANAL.)

    As I see it, this shield law is _very bad news_ for bloggers. There is no way for bloggers to be journalists under that reading of the law; it would mean that anyone with a facebook page can’t be served a search warrant. So if you want bloggers to be the legal equal of journalists, it’s probably in your best interest to make Gawker/Gizmodo _fail_ in their quest to be let off on its account.

    The shield laws themselves are a classic case of a social contract past its expiration. Journalists used to be able to deliver both news generation and news suppression in exchange for their privileges. They are losing their ability to suppress, and bloggers are gaining the ability to generate. In that sense, bloggers are becoming the equal of journalists. But they can’t just “pick up” the old deal, because bloggers can’t suppress news, and that was in their part of the offering. We’ll need to make make a new deal, and it’ll be a lot less cushy.

    — perry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>