When TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington lowered the bar for journalistic integrity by announcing that he would begin investing in companies he reported on, he assured the tech community that "this will all be fine."
Apparently, he spoke too soon. Arrington was incredibly confident in his declaration that although investing in companies he covered was a conflict of interest, there wouldn't be a problem as long as he disclosed what he was doing. He went so far as to say that "other tech press will make hay out of this because they don’t like the fact that we are, simply, a lot better than them."
This did nothing to neutralize the criticism, directed both at him as well as AOL-Huffington Post content head Arianna Huffington. And despite Arrington's swagger, it seems the snide comments are starting to get to him. He posted another blog post on TechCrunch with the straight-to-the-point title: "The Tech Press: Screw Them All." where he rants against both the tech press and the "old guard":
I have little hope for this industry until the last of the old guard have finally been put down. They do NOT control the news. They do NOT control opinion. They do NOT get to say who gets to write content and who doesn’t. And they do NOT get to rant about their ethics when they constantly fight against simple transparency...
Before I started TechCrunch I never understood how screwed up this whole news world was. It’s ugly as hell out there, people. These people, the tech press, just disgust me.
Furious rants are an unreliable way to get points across. But not to be deterred, Arrington more specifically explains why no one, not Kara Swisher, Tom Forenski, nor the media in general has the right to criticize him for his investment policy:
Swisher doesn’t get to complain about my investment policy when she is married to a Google executive... Foremski doesn’t get to tell me my policy is unethical when he has financial conflicts all over the place... And major media doesn’t get to preach to me about their ethics policies when they kill stories because their editor wants to keep Arianna Huffington squirming.
The tech press had some things to say about this. Kara Swisher tweeted that "the biggest difference [between her and Arrington] is that he is simply not a journalist. But whatev." Jeff Jarvis, on the other hand, came to Arrington's defense, and tweeted: "@Arrington raises legitimate journalistic questions. journalist @karaswisher rides away on high horse." No doubt there is more to come on the debate from every side.