Do our intrepid bloggers right themselves? Scroll at the first link to see how they carry on joking about the accident:
"Are we liveblogging someone's death? Because I didn't sign on to do parade snuff."Yikes.
"Ed, you're thinking of skittles. Skittles have superpowers that M&M's do not. It's a generational thing."
I was at the parade in 1969, when Bullwinkle deflated all over a bystanders near the Ansonia Hotel, who moved inside en masse and started Plato's Retreat.
UPDATE: I've closed the comments on this post, based on my new, more vigorous policy announced here. For readers who may not know, the many references to "Jeff" in these comments are to the commenter Protein Wisdom, who is Jeff Goldstein, one of the participants in the live-blogging criticized in this post.
Is Pajamas Media too much like MSM? Well, one way in which it's different, to be sure, is that when you do a blog post, say, criticizing Dan Rather, he doesn't come over and yell at you in the comments! I think it's damned strange that you have what is supposed to be a business, with $3.5 million in financing, where the insiders behave like this. All I did was quote four things that they said and write "Yikes," and Goldstein comes over and rants in my comments -- on Thanksgiving! -- until I'm finally driven to close them down and announce a new comments policy to protect my space from being deluged by ugliness. He's also writing on his own blog, denouncing me as "absolutely despicable." For saying "Yikes" at those jokes made when a large object falls on a crowd? A little thin-skinned, Jeff?
And what about this character, another PJM insider? He writes about my post, saying I'd "lost my mind" and titling the post "Ann Althouse's Integrity"? All for a little old "Yikes"! Oh, I see, he was over here commenting and I deleted his comment. Yeah, because it was too abusive. Now, on his own blog, he's calling me "a liar ... spreading malicious untruths." Where's the lie? He thinks it's a lie to have written about the accident in this post when I wasn't watching the parade on television!
Let the historians of blogging judge who's lost their mind. I'd like to know which insiders are embarrassed to be yoked to folks who are harassing me this way just for criticizing them a little. How bizarrely unprofessional! And, worse, how hostile to the spirit of blogging, which they so desperately want and need to recover!
ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader writes:
I think the 2 posts you describe in the update make it clear that these are not just people who are criticizing your blog because they happen not to like the things you say; it's a smear campaign (which means you're certainly entitled to delete ALL of their comments). A normal person would never say that you were lying in your post about the parade. So many of the recent criticisms of you from people who defend Pajamas Media are essentially saying: "You're criticizing them too much." (Weird attitude for bloggers to have!)
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Dan at Riehl World View notes that Pajamas could have foreseen that the wind that day would pose problems for the balloons and could have mobilized to provide the citizen journalism they've been talking about:
With just a very little bit of research into what turned out to be an important subtext of this particular parade, PJM might have been in a position to put something rather substantive out within minutes of the accident, offering readers something they likely wouldn't have gotten from the MSM on line for an hour.That's a very sharp and constructive criticism. What does Dan get for it? Jeff Goldstein shows up in the comments and goes after him until Dan actually rewrites his post to "correct the emphasis."
News is rarely, if ever that which is expected - it's the unexpected which makes headlines. If we as bloggers want to move into an increasingly significant role as reporters, we're going to have to learn to be better prepared in certain cases.
MORE: Baldilocks doesn't understand why I wrote in the comments here that Jeff Goldstein acted as though been given "the assignment to be my personal Baldilocks." I explain over in her comments section.
AND: Was lighting into me for this post behavior befitting the insiders to a major business undertaking? Of course not. What would a media organization that was actually ready for prime time have done? They should have added a note at the end of their live-blogging that said something like:
Live-blogging is part of the great fun of blogging, but it poses risks too. Our live-bloggers didn't see much of the mishap with the balloon as they were watching the televised parade, and unfortunately, their comments carried on in the joking spirit of the live-blog. Afterwards, they saw the news reports, and their hearts went out to the young woman and the girl who got hurt. Looking back, some of those jokes seem pretty insensitive. But we took the risk of live-blogging, and we're going to keep taking risks in the grand tradition of blogging. We knew we'd step on some toes along the way, but we never meant to be mean to the nice people who go to parades.
Then Althouse would have amended her post and said Nice save by Pajamas!
Instead, I've got to say not ready for prime time.
ALSO: I'm going to allow new comments, but I will monitor actively. I will delete posts with hatred, abuse, shouting, personal attacks, repetition, and perseverating demands for apologies and retractions. You can debate and disagree, but you must try to engage with some of the issues on a rational, intelligent level, in the tradition of Althouse blog comments. If you're not familiar with my place, read some of the comments in other posts and get a feeling for the kind of community you are entering. The regulars who hang out here have created an environment that's different from a lot of places where you may be used to commenting. I will not allow you to spoil it for us.