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Friday, October 21, 2005

Mouth Frothing Attribution

I just heard a TVNZ reporter, Chris Harrington, speaking on National Radio. He was very upset that people were lifting journalistic works and putting them on blogs with no attribution. I think retribution was very much the theme. He lauded, repeatedly, Russell Brown and his Hard News Blog (do I need to provide a link? Nah, its too well known, surely) and was mouth frothingly septic over unmentionable blogs. He seemed to phase between the point that more citation is required when quoting others, and being genuinely upset non-journalists dared to blog.

His interpretation of the amusing line "I think therefore I blog" was, to him the proof positive of the arrogance of blogging hacks. Now where have I seen that line, I know I've been to that blog, but Chris X did not attribute. Damn. Again Readers, please help. (I'd like to see you say that RB. How about enabling comments?)

Anyway, he seemed so annoyed with his sample blog, it had a real sense of Sir Humphrey's. I mean, its just the reaction we are used to from the ardent left wing. But I know we are not alone, so maybe he was thinking about another blog? Could Farrar's Kiwiblog induce the same froth? Probably, many readers tend to lump the commenters in with the authors of the blog. One big homogeneous family with barely any difference of opinion I suppose.

But I digress. Here's the challenge. Any-one that thinks SH is guilty of failing to attribute work, point it out. I believe we have an excellent history of (a) authoring our own work (b) providing links where possible to other work and news articles, and (c) block quoting away when we are reporting other work.

I say this as I have noticed the frothers seem to lump all sorts of imagined transgressions onto a blog, often because they violently disagree with the opinions expressed. Yes, we have strong opinions. But I'm pretty sure we all attribute to a good standard.

Uddate: I think I've now got the name right. Thanks folks.

Posted by ZenTiger | 10/21/2005 09:50:00 AM


Blogger Lucyna said...

I thought it was Mike somebody or other. Have to wait for the archive to come online to check. It was on between 9:20 - 9:30 approx.

10/21/2005 09:54:00 AM  
Anonymous dim said...

I think his name was Chris Farrington. Never heard of him. I did wonder if he was talking about you lot.

Maybe I missed something, but the interview seemed totally pointless to me - he wouldn't go into specifics about the site or story he alleged had been stolen from him, and the rest of it was just an uninformed bitter rant.

Hmmmm . . . pointless, uninformed and bitter. Say, maybe you guys should try and recruit him.

10/21/2005 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Ha ha, Dim.

Except, he had such a low opinion of blogs (except for Russell's), I doubt it would work out between us.

10/21/2005 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger noizy said...

Terrible interview.

Dim about sums it up: "...pointless, uninformed and bitter."

10/21/2005 10:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever, he did have a real name that he was prepared to express his opinions under.

Russell does that too you know, and David Farrer, this helps get them credibility and consideration by the serious media.

- Wind up

10/21/2005 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Wind Up, Did you get that name by deed poll? What makes you think I have any interest in being considered by the 'serious media?' Pray tell who, in this country, do you describe as 'serious media?' I don't know why some of the dosey lefties who insist on commenting before thinking have to be told so many times the simple truth that I am not interested in your opinions. I am not looking for your agreement. I am not craving credibility or recognition. This is my blog where I publish my opinion or interpretation of events and frankly I don't care if you never read it. So please go and waste someone else's time attributing to them your assumed version of their aspirations.

10/21/2005 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger noizy said...

the interview is online now.

10/21/2005 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger noizy said...

I think therefore I blog - kea blog.

10/21/2005 10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got the name because I thought it appropraite to use with you ego strokers.

Maybe froth up Adolf froth froth

- Wind up

10/21/2005 10:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though I disagree strongly most the time with your blog, I don’t think it can at all be accused of not attributing source articles (its those dam blue hyper link that say “Linked Article” right?).
I also don’t think Chris X was talking about ur blog either as he said he couldn’t read it out as it was defamatory, not because it had as you call it "strong opinions". And it wouldn’t have been DPF as David is a quick draw on the defamatory comments. Perhaps Cathy’s blog with her recent posts about Winston, Mccully et al?

10/21/2005 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

I'd be very interested to know which particular story this plaintive bleeder is moaning about having been 'stolen' for heaven's sake. Already the subject of a complaint to the BSA. HE alleges tapes and reporters' notebooks somehow were used by this blog. The Heinous Villain actually directly contacted 'our sources and talent.' So now the MSM 'owns' its sources apparently.

This little rant has marvellous potential for much sport. I hope Kea does the idiot for defamation. Did anyone notice Harrigton stated a number of times that bloggers are not subject to defamation law? Therein lies an indication of how 'reliable' his 'investigations' might be.

10/21/2005 11:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Ed Snack said...

I think your name is appropriate wind up, make sure you pronounce the first word correctly though, as if it were a breeze.

10/21/2005 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

BTW 'this blog' in previous comment does not refer to Sir Hump's but to the supposed transgressor, not named.

10/21/2005 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Anonymous. A very perceptibe observation. I imagine Cathy O will have carefully checked defamation from all angles and the poor bugger at TVNZ might struggle to have a shot at someone writing from Hong Kong. I'm fascinated to know what investigative story the poor wee lad reckons she stole from him though.

When the dust settles he may wish he'd never opened his mouth.

10/21/2005 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Rob O'Neill said...

Adolf failed to attribute this "news" quote to a Mark Steyn column a few days ago.

"Sixteen out of Iraq's 18 provinces - including Sunni-majority ones - voted for the most liberal, democratic, federal and pluralist constitution in the Middle East."


10/21/2005 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger noizy said...

"I'd be very interested to know which particular story this plaintive bleeder is moaning about having been 'stolen' for heaven's sake."

Chris states that: "...large sections of them have been quoted, scripts have been quoted, and interview clips have been quoted."

So, potentially kea?

Compare kea's 1-Sep-05 articles on the Walter Lake scandal (scroll down, no permalink to the article, unfortunately) (and other kea articles with non-attribted info and quotes from people involved in the Walter Lake scandal here and here (latter one, scroll down to 7-June) to the TVNZ Sunday report (not firefox friendly!).

10/21/2005 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Thanks Rob. You have now joined our vast army of (unpaid) editors. Isn't is good we allow comments, unlike (for example) that Hard News "blog" run by Russell Brown and co.

I note the tone of Adolf's post was that he was talking about the MSM, and actually looking to quote some of our own, but failing due to lack of information.

The article was not trying to make out that quote was his own words, which is step one of plagiarism.

I'm sure now that I've declared this, we will all be extra careful to link where we feel linking is due. I still say we are pretty good on that score.

10/21/2005 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Wow, James. Quick work. All this discussion might at least make it clear what the code of conduct is for amateur bloggers that don't go through University or Journalism School, and don't get exposed to the citation practices (as well as those that deliberately and foolishly engage in wholesale plagiarism that will utlimately get caught out).

10/21/2005 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Rob, misrepresenting Adolf's well-known technical problems with blogging is not classy.

That post has the text in question bolded, which is Adolf's substitution for using the blockquote tool. It also says 'able to read this in a North American newspaper'. These two facts taken together suggest any reader not trying to "pull a Litterick" would immediately see the middle paragraph was not Adolf's own.

You are acting the ass.

p.s. "pull a Litterick" refers to attacking the referencing of opinion desseminated by political enemies when every single NZ media outlet in the country publishes rumours trussed up as un-referenced facts within most news stories. Or even worse - they attribute to "senior sources", which we know after Doonegate means the Prime Minister or some other politico is spreading lies to attack their political enemies.

10/21/2005 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Zen, we are one of the better blogs in NZ for linking the original source documents.

You are trolling Rob.

10/21/2005 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

p.s. sorry I haven't been responding to emails since yesterday or posting. Very busy. Might be away until Tues.

10/21/2005 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger darren said...

Some weeks ago I 'invented' the nickname "Liar-bour" for you know what.
Unless, without my knowledge, someone started using it before me.
I am pleased to say that Whale Oil has used the term several times in a posting today.
Technically, this may be plagiarism but
I am happy for everyone to use it.
Call it an Open Source offering rather than proprietary.
(BTW I downloaded Mozilla Firefox today and it is so much faster than Internet Explorer)
Please can "Liar-bour" be the appropriate term for the governing party.
You needen't attribute it to me.
I am also quite fond of the expression "Helengrad".
Peter Cresswell recently posted on its origins.
I am sure 'Helengrad' is now an open source term as well.

10/21/2005 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Rob O'Neill said...

I'm not saying he didn't make it clear that he was quoting. I'm saying he didn't attribute the quote. Saying it comes from a "North American newspaper" doesn't cut the mustard. What paper and who wrote it?

The fact that it wasn't a news story as he presented it, that it came from a Mark Steyn column is important. It is opinion, not news.

So I'm supposed to tolerate Adolf's "well-known" technical problems (which I'd never heard of), but when it comes to Russell's technical problems with comments (ie he doesn't have the facility to "turn them on"), it's fair game!

Double standards abound!

10/21/2005 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

I disagree Rob. No-one is asking you to tolerate Adolf's posting problems, but you got a partial explanation of the situation around that post. As AL said, it was clear that Adolf was quoting, but I personally did not disagree with you that an attribution was missing.

We are not claiming that SH is perfect, but we are claiming we are pretty good. I'd agree with AL that we would be one of the better NZ blogs in this regard. Do you disagree with that statement?

I also personally think the definition of blogs need tightening.

The web log idea started off as a personal daily diary, and is evolving.

However, allowing or disallowing comments makes a considerable difference to the nature of a blog.

Otherwise, a blog also falls into the category of a frequently updated website.

Your suggestion that Russell Brown doesn't enable comments because he doesn't have the facility to turn them on is, in my opinion, a crappy excuse for simply preferring there not to be comments. It is hardly in the same league as people who have trouble using html commands on their blogs.

There are plenty of blogging tools and facilities available that would enable RB to allow comments. I submit any technical issues stopping him from allowing comments are a red herring and he simply prefers not to offer that facility.

10/21/2005 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

I think Russell's actually said as much too, that he doesn't want comments, therefore he doesn't have them. Probably somewhere in DPF's archives for those that care to look.

10/21/2005 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Rob O'Neill said...

I agree you guys are pretty good at attribution etc, very good in fact. But you did issue a challenge:

"Here's the challenge. Any-one that thinks SH is guilty of failing to attribute work, point it out."

Then you go berko when someone takes you up on it!!

10/21/2005 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous moth said...

I listened to this bleating twit (Chris Harringtin) this morning and marvelled at how a senior TVNZ journo could be so thick. If it wasn't for the likes of him trotting out the party line for the corporate news machine, if he could present neutral unbiased information as news rather than his opinion masquerading as news, our need to get to the truth via the internet would not exist. He is part of the reason blogs have become so popular. Instead of lifting his game he takes the easy way out and bags the blogosphere. Face it Harringtin, you're part of the increasingly redundant and obsolete world of the main-stream media dinosaurs. You can't be trusted to deliver factual information, you have no credibility, and as TVNZ's ratings disappear down the toilet your true relevance to society will be realised.

10/21/2005 12:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've just coined the term "Nuts-ional" for our largest opposition party. You are free to use it any time you like....


10/21/2005 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Whaleoil said...

Thanks Darren for reminding me where I had seen it. I would have attributed it if I could remember, anyway, thanks again.

I think Liar-bour is increasingly accurate so i will continue to use it.

Thnaks again

10/21/2005 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

rob on'neil, yes it was a challenge and fair enough but I think you fellows are getting into knit picking territiry. The original observation came from an iraqi blogger but I read about it in a North American newspaper. If I could have remembered which one, I might have mentioned it. The whole point of the post was that I could not find such information in my usual daily local papers, online versions thereof. So, a little perspective please.

johnie. Fantatsic achievement. Now go suck your rusks and drink your gripe water.

10/21/2005 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Rob, I did issue the challenge, and you responded well.

"Then you go berko when someone takes you up on it!!"

I didn't think I was going berko though.

"Angry? You haven't seen me when I'm angry" (Cruise wasn't it?)

Maybe you meant AL, who thought you were being picky? Still, we are a right wing blog. We are known for our feisty responses. It's the "myths" we are dispelling.

10/21/2005 01:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still, it is better than "NAZInal"..


10/21/2005 01:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or "nice-urinal" and "Nits-anal" for that matter.


10/21/2005 01:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Ian Wishart said...

If bloggers aren't subject to defamation law, why is GayNZ's Chris Banks trying to sue me over in The Briefing Room?

10/21/2005 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

How interesting, Ian. Was Chris the guy on National Radio yesterday morning going on about Maxim? If so, it must be take down all political opponents week.

10/21/2005 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Exactly Ian! Some of the points Chris made on RNZ (but they may not be exact quotes) were:

1. Serious Journalism is being stolen.

2. We are bound by defamation laws, bloggers aren't

3. You cannot make an assessment of information if you don't know where its coming from.

4. "Who is going to file a defamation act against blogs?"

He was firstly talking about the crap information posted on blogs, then saying the crap information was stolen from journalists and then saying the ideas mattered less than the author. (in broad terms, and perhaps I'm being a little unfair for the sake of the discussion, but that's mainly because I found his overall interview a little incoherent).

I agree attribution is important to enable the reader to find the context, to gain additional information and out of respect for noting the source.

But the rest of the points were debatable - blogs will (and are) being sued, the ideas are important, and there are many quality blogs (including SH of course). Some are obviously quality for merely reprinting the serious journalism are they not? And others because they add another take on some-one else's opinion. And others because the newspapers choose not to report it in as much depth.

10/21/2005 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Oh darn, yesterday's nine-noon has dropped off the archives.

The Maxim guy that was on yesterday described the GayNZ guy as an activist, and I think his name was Chris Banks, but it seems my memory is a little flaky today, so I can't be sure.

10/21/2005 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger noizy said...

If bloggers aren't subject to defamation law...

Chris did actually back down from that statement in the interview, saying instead that 'who would bother' to sue a blogger for defamation.

obviously, some people are going to bother.

There was the case of Patrick O'Brien taking a defamation suit against Alan Brown last year, over comments written in an email. I suspect the time will eventually come when a blogger finds him/herself equally in the sights of someone who's been the subject of some illthought out words on a blog post.

10/21/2005 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger t selwyn said...

I heard that TVNZ's guy's rant - and it was a rant (I should know) - and his repeated assertion that defamation does not apply to blogs was astounding... or idiotic given he is a journalist. He was hyprocritical also in not giving details about bad blogs but ranting about bloggers not attributing etc.

And his comments about Russell Brown being great?! - RB quotes properly and comments on a wide variety of issues which is good, but his hagiography is unfounded because the political bias is too heavy eg. given he refused to mention the Philip Field scandal at all and claims the title "hard news" stands out for me as a timely case study.

Harrington did point out that people have to be wary that authors of blogs are often very biased but failed to recognise the self-correcting nature of the scrutiny provided by other bloggers and the comments sections which act as a peer review process of sorts. He seemed very angry, but I couldn't put my finger on why exactly. Perhaps it was a institutional, MSM reactionary critique of a free medium unconstrained by layers of editors and sub-editors and policies and commercial imperatives communicating directly to people that he was trying to articulate, ie. frustration at his limitations and the erosion of his status? I'll endeavour to ask him.

10/21/2005 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger Rob O'Neill said...

Okat, Zen Tiger not angry. (Note to self: try harder)

Of course no one has even raised the subject of bloggers stealing pictures, which we all do ... shamelessly

10/21/2005 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger t selwyn said...

OK - just spoke to Harrington:

says that he likes RB for the variety of sources and their being quoted properly - not for RB's political point of view.

says defamation not tested yet on blogs.

Too busy to explain why he seemed so angry however.

10/21/2005 03:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Ian Wishart said...

Yeah..I know Chris Harrington from my TVNZ and TV3 days.

The problem with MSM, and indeed all of us, is that we don't always recognise the full extent of our biases.

As a TV3 journo, I remember being stunned when I did a series of stories on periodic detention, and discovered after visiting some guys on PD in Mangere that none of the 20 had ever been to the beach in their lives, only 2 had ever got their groceries from a supermarket - most 'bought' their food from a corner store, and none watched the six o'clock news.

During Joseph Thompson's serial rape/stalking in South Auckland, I got sick of covering the attacks after a while because none of the locals even realised there was a serial rapist, even though it had been a major news story for several years by then.

TV journos live in a cushy little world, earning six figure salaries and aspiring to Ponsonby or Mt Eden.

They like to think they are objective, middle of the road people, but they're not well-read enough to understand that they have a liberal worldview or that most other people aren't like them.

And when TV does stories, in many respects it likes to reflect itself when seeking out people to offer opinions.

Thus, you get this growing disconnection between the media entity/political/business establishment grouping, and the public.

Blogging is a reconnection, and reflects the demand for alternative viewpoints and genuine debate that people feel they're not getting.

Take our University of Auckland baby experiments story - it's a major ethical issue but apart from the Herald the rest of the media are silent, because it doesn't fit their own social worldview.

And as for GayNZ's threatened lawsuit, Chris Banks will lose. But isn't it interesting that you can run a website tearing other people down but the moment one of your targets bests you you go running to the lawyer in tears.

Give me a break.

10/21/2005 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger t selwyn said...

What about: "I link therefore I blog."

10/21/2005 04:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you now recognise the extent of your biases, Ian?


10/21/2005 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Probably way more than you, Johnie!

10/21/2005 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

That's an interesting perspective Ian but through blogging who exactly are we reconnecting to? It's the same debate amongst the same small world. You can be sure South Auckland is not sitting in front of their computers soaking up an alternative viewpoint.

10/21/2005 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Craig Ranapia said...

My first response: I'd be more inclined to take Mr. Harrington seriously if TVNZ was breaking news stories instead of making them for all the wrong reasons.

As I've said before, I'm happy to put my record of correcting errors of fact and attribution up against any MSM hack. And I'm certainly not going to take lectures on media ethics from any profession where Cate Brett still has a job.

10/21/2005 04:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now fair go Ian. You as good as accused Chris Banks of supporting pedophilia. At best the most you could say is that CB supports what Kinsey said about homosexuality, and that Kinsey has been accused of aiding and abetting (and profiting from) pedophilia.

Linking CB's support for the homosexuality studies to an assumed support for kiddy fiddling is tenuous, unfair and understandably offensive. I mean, whatever the history is between you and Banks, saying that he supports the sexual abuse of children is a bit below the belt.

If you think CB has "gotten the wrong end of the stick" or misunderstood what you were saying, then a quick apology and restatement could save alot of hassle and unnecessary acrimony. Of course, if it was your intention to imply that CB does indeed excuse and support child sex abuse then dont bother. But dont be surprised when someone who you've accused of the most abhorrent behaviour gets a bit irate.


10/21/2005 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

rob o'niell. I don't steal pictures. Haven't figured out how to yet.

You begin to realise why TVNZ's so called investgative department has been so abjectly useless when it's head honcho doesn't know blogs are subject to defamation law. Some investigater!!! This is a rerun of the Mary Mapes' bullshit ranting about Powerline and co who literally took down CBS. Only difference is TVNZ could die next year and the world would not notice, and it probably will, the way it's going.

10/21/2005 05:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Ian Wishart said...

Well Kimble

You've softened my heart for poor old Chris Banks.

You and I both know I wasn't accusing him of supporting pedophilia, but I was trying to demonstrate that he pointedly ignored the evidence about Kinsey and pedophilia in order to defame me, yet again. I suggested that there were two logical conclusions, either that Banks supported pedophilia, or that he's pig ignorant.

I'm certain he is the latter.

But for the sake of confusion, if Chris Banks genuinely feels I'm accusing him of sympathy for pedophilia, I withdraw and apologise.

I may loathe the guy's twisted and malicious columns, and the way he deliberately ignores evidence he doesn't like in order to stick the knife into someone, but I wouldn't want anyone to seriously think Banks is supporting 'kiddy fiddling' as you so charmingly put it.

10/21/2005 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger t selwyn said...

Oh well... there goes the test case.

10/21/2005 05:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done, Kimble! You are an excellent mediator.

And well done, Chris Banks! By showing you mean business you have achieved a rare thing indeed: an apology from Ian Wishart.

10/21/2005 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Rob O'Neill said...

I'm watching you Adolf. As soon as you get your block quotes, I'll be there. as soon as you get pictures, I'll be there. wherever there's an MSM guy getting stiffed, why, I'll be there too.

10/21/2005 07:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That insufferable woman standing in for clark on nine to noon deserves a mention too. For the last 2 weeks she has presented a prize example of dreary marxist brown nosing radio. The guy from maxim this morning should have pursued his chortling and comments about national socialist radios overt bias. God, they are so overdue for a good old fashioned bolsevik style purge.

10/21/2005 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

You're right, Anon. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm looking forward to Linda Clark coming back. Though ever since she did that wonderful interview with Helen, a lot is forgiven.

10/21/2005 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

My goodness. Rob's been cloned. The man's every-where.

Careful Rob, start showing up at the crime scenes and you begin to look like a suspect. Your alibi will be shot for starters.

"It wasn't me, yer honour, I'm a full time witness"

10/21/2005 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger Craig Ranapia said...


I understand you're working for the Sydney Morning Herald these days. What's it's editorial process for making sure it's op-ed contributors keep on the right side of the line between *ahem* paraphrase and plagiarism; or, for that matter, all sources are correctly attributed?

10/22/2005 01:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob O'Neill said...

I'm not sure of the detail as I don't work in that area but I do know the subs here are not backward in coming forward. They will ring you at all times of the day or night to check stuff.

It can be very hard to spot something like that but the policies here are very strong and staff are made aware of them.

As with the Chch incident it is external contributors who can be a problem.

My feeling is there is a lot more awareness of the plagiarism issue here than in NZ. This is partly due to ABC's Mediawatch constantly catching people out. They used to have a weekly prize for the "blatant recycling of other people's work"

10/24/2005 12:06:00 PM  

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