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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Lessig on cit-jos, advertising, and sensationalism

Lawrence Lessig: "As he said to me,

'An amateur journalist simply doesn't have a conflict of interest, or the conflict of interest is so easily disclosed that you know you can sort of get it out of the way.'

It is because I found Dave's view so compelling that I've been worried for sometime about the emergence of advertising in blog space. I'm not against it. I just worry about how it might put pressure on the 'doesn't have a conflict of interest' norm. If the virtue of the amateur is to seek the truth, that virtue could be in tension with the desire to earn more ad revenue. The simplest way to get linkbacks is to say the most absurd things imaginable.

But the more I've talked about this with observers and friends, the more I think the real fear is not bloggers tempted by ad revenues. It is instead the emergence of the equivalent of tabloids in blog-space: commercial entities whose sole purpose is to generate ad revenue, who do that by being as ridiculous and extreme as possible."


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