Chris Shipley 1, Internet lynch mob 0

Demo's impresario goes public with a tart and smartly written riposte to the shoot-from-the-lip crowd.

On the eve of the dueling demo-fests, Demo impresario Chris Shipley confesses that she has had it with the shoddy reporting, invective and arrogance that has attended most of the commentary on the phony faceoff between her conference and TechCrunch.

Her post deserves to be quoted at length:

When in a twitter I bemoaned the lack of original reporting (only one reporter (cnet) and exactly zero bloggers writing this week about this silly DEMO v TechCrunch episode actually contacted me), the infamous blogger Robert Scoble suggested that if I'd blog my opinion, he'd link to it. Does that mean that a perspective only exists or matters if it's expressed in a blog post? Or that Robert's just moving too fast to do any investigation outside his narrow medium?

Scoble's not the only guy living in the rarefied air of the echo-chamber. Sarah Lacy, who works for the much-respected, conducted a five-minute video interview with TC50's Mike Arrington and Jason Calacanis, during which the two leveled the usual slander. Did Lacy fire one tough question at the two? Did this journalist call me or the DEMO organization to get a response to serious accusations? Um, the answer to that would be "no."

In fact, a few weeks ago, when Mike Arrington wrote an assumption-based and error-filled story that demanded an apology from the DEMO organization for a comment that was clearly not made by or on behalf of anyone at DEMO, Lacy picked up the story and wrote with righteous indignation that slander was the highest insult that could be leveled against a journalist. Did she call me or DEMO before posting her story? Again no.

Par for the course.

Not that any of what she wrote today is going to make a whit of difference to the mob baying for her head, but the bloviators choosing sides in this staged "controversy" are attacking one of the good guys (or in this, gals) in the technology business. How do I know? Full disclosure: I got to know Chris in the early 1990s when we worked together on a pre-Internet online publishing platform. Suffice it say that she's a straight shooter with loads of integrity, the sort of person my father would describe as "a mensch."

Is Demo making a buck on the backs of entrepreneurs? You bet. They also get to strut their stuff at a high-profile venue. Arrington and Calcanis are smart guys and my guess is that they're not putting on TechCrunch 50 solely out of the kindness of their hearts. If all this results in a wider venue to startups, more power to everyone concerned. I'll leave it at that.