MG Siegler casually mentioned he used to plant "sometimes false" information into his stories as a way to catch people rewriting his stuff, but now he's being coy over whether that was true or if it was a piece of false information he threw out to mess with the tech blogosphere.
Siegler tweeted to Instapaper founder Marco Arment, who was in the middle of a rant about tech blogs rewriting and not properly attributing scoops to the right sources, that he sometimes slipped in false information to bust copycats. The tweet inspired Betabeat's Adrienne Jeffries to write a post about the ethics of Siegler's devious tactics with quotes from other tech journalists. "MG Siegler can't be trusted," says the post's sub head. The comments from other tech bloggers range from "No, I would never do that" to "I would never, EVER do that and what he did was WRONG." Well, not really, but they're close.
Siegler's on vacation in Paris, and Jeffries didn't get a quote from him before publishing her story. He had a problem with that, among other things, and so he wrote a response. Siegler didn't like that Jeffries got a bunch of his old competition to comment on the story, without waiting to hear from him. "No conflicts there. None at all. I competed against some of these people for years. And my tweet implies that what it is they do for a living could be a farce," he writes. He singled out AllThingsD's Kara Swisher, who called him "unethical and pathetically petty." Siegler says he busted AllThingsD for rewriting one of his stories last year by leaving information out of his post. "I simply left out information (which I knew, but didn’t think was particularly important) and watched as the rewritten version ate shit while trying to fill in the blanks," he says
But what if what he said originally wasn't true at all. It was a red herring, something he tossed out to make someone chase a rabbit into the woods even though the rabbit doesn't exist. An idea he wanted to plant to see if anyone would bite and write something silly. "What if it was my tweet that was filled with false information in order to expose bullshit bloggers who have nothing better to do than write about nothing with absolutely no basis for doing so?" he asks. It would be one of the best blogging dupes, ever. And it worked. MG Siegler can't be trusted, but he did what Leo Dicaprio, Tom Hardy, Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt had to work as a team to do. MG Siegler successfully performed inception.
Personally, our favorite part of Siegler's post is the slug. He works blue, but we encourage you to read it by checking your browser's URL bar.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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