The New York Times has a good reputation, and for
good reason. It has done tens of thousands
of stories exploring the truth and lies of
various important issues and carefully analyzing
the evidence. However it has
screwed up in the past and let conflict
of interest mess with what it prints.
However this particular story really caught my eye.
Let me note that I will mostly refrain from pointing out
the obvious analogies with slashdot, slashdroidism,
and CmdrTaco of Borg. That is left as an exercise
for the reader.
Basically the story is this: a reporter wrote a book
about the links between the NFL and the mafia.
The NYT lied about what was in the book in order
to protect its friendly links with the NFL,
and through its influence and power destroyed the
book's (and the author's) reputation.
" In the end, my crusade against the owners of professional football and the influence upon them by organized crime was cut short. Instead, I was forced into a personal battle against the world's most respected and influential newspaper, which, in light of its mistakes and refusal to be fair to an individual author, stubbornly hid behind and then jeopardized the framework of the First Amendment. "
Now, is kuro5hin different? Is kuro5hin immune
from doing what the NYT did? Technically, no,
there is always a way to 'abuse the system'
and subvert the democractic nature of scoop.
But in actuality, kuro5hin is quite a bit less
likely to fall into the same kind of
behavior that the NYT fell into. They key,
in my opinion, is that for the most part
the decision about what gets published and
what doesn't is left up to the mass of the voters,
not to a hierarchy of individuals reporting to
some giant overboss.
Of course that leaves you with the problem that
democratic mobs can be biased and ignore the
truth. Kuro5hin does have alot of crap stories and a biased readership
that votes on the stories. However, I find it
unlikely that if someone published a book review
on kuro5hin full of horribly false comments
that it would be 'swept under the rug' and that
the author of the book would have no chance to
rebut the accusations.
In the Moldea case if there had been a more
democratic decision make process about what
was printed and what wasnt, then some corrections
or retractions or whatnot could have been
printed later, Moldea's reputation would have been
salvaged, and the truth of the story would not be
hidden from the readers. However, in this case
the NYT refused to print any corrections,
refused to print Moldea's "letter to the editor"
explaining all this, and when Moldea sued,
it hired a bunch of lawyers and claimed it
was protecting the first amendment
rights of its book reviewers. All of these
attempts to cover up the problem were prompted
by the conflict of interest of the NYT and its
attempt to cover this up through its control
of what was printed, none of which would
be likely to happen at kuro5hin due to its
Now, in actuality there are a few people who control
kuro5hin, and they can theoretically decide to destroy
stories and circumvent the democratic process
of scoop. Perhaps rusty has links to,
I don't know, voxel.net, or something,
so that makes him want to delete
But in practice there is much less chance for
'conflict of interest' to come up on kuro5hin.
Partly it is because kuro5hin is volunteer
and nobody is kissing the 'overboss' butt in
exchange for money for food and rent.
But partly it is because there is no way rusty could
possibly read and delete all the massive traffic
of comments, stories, and votes that go through
kuro5hin. This is exactly why slashdot created
the 'moderator' clique, and it is why the NYT
has hundreds of employees trying to control
what is printed. The claim is to increase quality,
but the effect is always to eventually introduce
bias and censorship. And kuro5hin doesnt have that
bureaucracy of control in place.
Therefore, I reckon that a place like kuro5hin
has a much better chance of escaping any sort
of incidentss of corruption like the Moldea case
that happened at the New York Times. If
there were some review of Moldea's book in
kuro5hin and it was full of lies, the author
could have submitted their own comments and/or
story about why the review was false.