January 27, 2004

"Howard Dean's 'smart ID' plan", and Declan McCullagh's "journalism"

Declan McCullagh's "journalism" sometimes resembles this old Bloom County cartoon:

[Scene: Declan McCullagh, err Milo Bloom, at reporter's desk in newsroom, on telephone]

Milo: Senator? This is Milo Bloom at the BEACON. Will you confirm that you sunk Jimmy Hoffa in your backyard pond?

Bedfellow: What? Of course not!
Milo: Fine. I'll go with "Sen. Bedfellow denies that pond is where he sunk Hoffa."

Bedfellow: That's NOT TRUE!
Milo: Okay. "Bedfellow DID sink Hoffa in pond".

Bedfellow: I DON'T KNOW where Hoffa is!!
Milo: "'I lost the body' says Bedfellow."

So, we have an article on how Senator Bedfellow sunk Jimmy Hoffa in the backyard pond, I mean, err:

Howard Dean's 'smart ID' plan

Let me just collect some resources:

Howard Dean's actual old speech
(no quotes, just read it to be informed - and interestingly, Declan does not give a link to it)

Andrew Orlowski - Who told Dean to scream for lock-down, TCPA computing?
"So it's worth parsing what Dean really said, and on what basis McCullagh formed his stentorian, five cigar conclusion, before we can judge either party."

Ed Felten / Freedom To Tinker: Dean's Smart-Card Speech
"At bottom, what we have here is a mistake by Dean, in deciding to give a speech recommending specific technical steps whose consequences he didn't fully understand. That's not good. But on the scale of campaign gaffes, this one seems pretty minor."

Dana Blankenhorn - Wrong Time For A Cheap Shot
"Declan McCullagh picked the wrong time -- the day before an important primary -- to deliver a cheap shot at Howard Dean."

Etc. Everyone can run around playing catch-up. But the damage is done. Not (yet?) at the Al Gore "invented the Internet" level, but instructive all the same.

Personal note: Perhaps, from this if nothing else, some people will understand why I worry about a journalistic hatch-job on me for any legally-risky free-speech work I might do.

Update: Wow (he said it, I didn't!):

Dana Blankenhorn - Orlowski Nails McCullagh's Butt To The Flagpole
"I hereby call out Declan McCullagh. You are no longer a journalist, sir. You are a lying troll."

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in journo , security | on January 27, 2004 11:40 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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I keep up with the technology press where it intersects with MacOS (the day job is developing content management systems). Matt Deatherage publishes some fine journals on the technology (www.macjournals.com).

From MWJ_20020218, Deatherage quotes Dvorak:

I routinely take a contrarian's view to see where such a view leads. This
normally inspires debate, argument, and some antagonism. That's
kind of the idea, and my long-time readers know that I change my
mind a lot, too. And why not?

And then comments:

Why not? Let's start with the idea that changing your opinion to a
"contrarian" one just to stir up controversy is morally bankrupt.
Writing that you believe something you do not just to boost
discussion is the kind of cynical manipulation readers hate about
the media.

The evidence is mounting that McCullagh is a hack, even if he does believe his own nonsense.

Our political system and media have become so twisted, that bloggers are now experimenting with investigating (deconstructing) journalists. The early work seems rudimentary, but perhaps soon readers will be able to check a "consumer reports" on journalists.

What happened to journalistic ethics? Don't high-profile journalists belong to professional societies, where they would be expected to acknowledge a code of ethics...

Posted by: sean broderick at January 28, 2004 12:53 AM

Spread the word: Declan McCullaugh invented the Internet. Every time you mention Declan, you must note this. Like so:

Declan McCullaugh (who famously invented the Internet) has posted a new stupid column.

Posted by: Aaron Swartz at January 30, 2004 05:26 PM