TechCrunch vs. editor: The final round

Mike Arrington has his final say--let's hope. So did Dave Winer. And now, Charles Cooper swears this is his final post on "l'affaire FM."

It's been quite a day. Over at TechCrunch, Michael Arrington says I'm not part of the "club" that is the blogosphere because, among other things, I simply "represent everything that we bloggers are trying to kill."

When I read that line, Groucho Marx's brilliant bon mot about clubs and their discontents immediately came to mind. But enough of that. Anyway, I think I've said all that I can about the Federated Media affair. Poll

Church and state
Should bloggers adhere to a strict line between advertising and editorial?

Yes, it's vital
No, it's a spurious distinction
The gray area is where the action is

View results

For those who (blissfully) may have been away at the beach the last few days, there's been quite a ruckus since the disclosure that several online publishers and venture capitalists lent their voices in seeming support of Microsoft's "People-Ready" advertising slogan. But after being on the receiving end of Arrington's last salvo, I left a post on his message board. Here's the repost:

Dear Mike,

Pardon me for the delayed response as I've been tied up with a few things for most of the day. Just got through reading your post. I guess you're not yet fully "people ready" (only kidding), but let me try and address a few of the comments made by you and some of the talkback posters here.

You write that I'm on "a personal crusade to sully the reputation of the blogging community in general."

Couldn't be further from the truth. Here's my Monday post on the matter that raised Arrington's ire; I'll let folks here judge for themselves. But if the links or quotes back to what you wrote are not accurate, please let me know.

Seems that the new marketing buzz here is to be a part of a greater conversation. And does that conversation ignore a granite wall to keep corporate influence out of the finished product? I've carefully read your posts but I still believe the FM situation crossed a line. Obviously, you disagree. I don't suppose I'm going to convince you about that. Maybe one day over a beer.

You're competitive and dream of supplanting CNET one day. Fine. That's competition and I'm totally down with free competition. We basically share the same job, and that's to get stories and put them in front of readers. But do I truly represent "everything that we bloggers are trying to kill"? That's a pretty ugly declaration. Truth be told, I don't think I'm a bad guy. But I am willing to stand up and challenge the comfortable assumptions when I think they're wrong. If that's sufficient casus belli, then let the rockets fire away."

I really do believe that CNET and TechCrunch are far more alike than different. Arrington obviously has big ambitions. That's fine, but saying you're a member of the blogosphere doesn't accord special dispensation that wipes away the basic stain left by participation in a flawed marketing campaign.

One last note. Over at, Dave Winer took several swipes at CNET in the wake of Arrington's post that left me speechless. To wit:

"The tech blogosphere was invented because of the sloppy church-state line at CNET and other professional pubs. They're the last people who get to preach this particular gospel. Inside the tech industry, we all know what's going on there. In private, no one is confused. They always take the side of big companies over small ones, even when it's ridiculous to do so. The reason--big companies advertise, they pay their salaries."

Dave, I'll send you a private note about this, but you and I really need to sit down over a cup of coffee and hash things out.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.