Gizmodo reporter banned from Consumer Electronics Show
Gizmodo reporter Richard Blakeley has been banned from the big Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week for a stunt where he turned off display screens at the show, and the Bit Player blog at the Los Angeles Times writes that his actions will hurt other journalists in the future trying to cover the event.
Bit Player wrote, “Contrary to what [editor Brian] Lam wrote today — ‘Our prank pays homage to the notion of independence and independent reporting’ — the stunt did the opposite. It made Gizmodo seem unclear on the whole concept of reporting. Sabotaging someone’s presentation may be good for a few laughs, but it doesn’t say anything about one’s ability to think critically or do good research. Did Gizmodo go to CES to learn as much as it could about the industry it covers, or to drive as much traffic as it could to its site?
“Lam also accused critics of protecting the corporations they write about, but that’s not what’s really at issue here. He’s feeling defensive is because his critics are defending the rules by which journalists play, foremost among them being that we don’t participate in what we cover. Yes, journalists can change the course of events (Watergate being the obvious example), but they do so by bringing facts to light that disrupt plans and empower the public. That sounds self-important, I know, and I don’t mean to suggest we’re all on a mission. But the reason we don’t pull pranks at demonstrations is because we’re there to convey what people would have seen or heard had they been there themselves, as well as try to answer the questions they would have asked. That’s why Gizmodo got 12 (count ’em, twelve) staffers in for free.
“My largest complaint with Lam is his argument that the prank proved his company’s independence and irreverence. No, Gizmodo’s coverage has to prove that independence, day in and day out — the same as for everybody else in this business. Lam doesn’t seem to understand this.”