Is Dan Lyons a Prostitute?

Thank you for the welcome, Walt Hucks of Opportunity Knocks 🙂 It does seem that Dan Lyons has made himself an easy target for criticism. Is he just trolling? Is it all an exercise in flame-baiting? Is he just doing it for the hits?

There are some who take the following attitude towards journalism: give the people “what they want”, where “what they want” is measured by sales figures, website hits, and the like. It’s a kind of “let’s let the market decide” attitude, appealing to notions of free market competition, and that sort of thing. If a certain style of journalism brings in the readers, then that’s taken as being what the market wants. The Market Has Decided. If you don’t like it, blame the market.

Okay, on the basis of all that rubber-necking on motorways (freeways, autobahns, etc), let’s have more car wrecks.

But is that “market driven” attitude the basis for Lyons’ style of journalism? Let me just try a cheap ploy. I know Dan Lyons knows of the existence of this here blog, because I’ve told him about it in an email, and he replied to that email. He must know this blog exists. So, if I ask him, on this here blog, what his underlying principles of his journalism are, he can either answer, or let his silence speak for itself. A cheap ploy, of course, as he’s not actually under any obligation to read my blog. If he doesn’t answer, that doesn’t constitute damning silence; it’s just that he might not even know I’m asking the question.

PJ doesn’t read his blog. She generally ignores him, and Dan Lyons may well ignore me. Yet he still bangs on about questions he says she doesn’t answer.

So, is Dan Lyons just giving what he measures to be what the market wants, regardless of what it does to his own reputation? Is he, metaphorically speaking, a prostitute?

Oooh, that was naughty of me! Such a mud-slingy question! Such a slanted article. I should be ashamed of myself.

Okay, I admit it: I just wanted to write an article with “Is Dan Lyons a Prostitute?” as the title.

Actually, there is sort of an answer, sort of, or indications of an answer at least, in his older article, “Confession #2: I don’t care who wins the SCO v. IBM case”. He starts by saying:-

I don’t know who’s right, and I really don’t care. … As I’ve said over and over, no matter what happens, this is a great story to cover. If SCO wins, it’s a long-shot victory, against all odds. If IBM wins, and shows the SCO guys to have been running a scam, an even better story.

It’s basically about how, according to him, he’s just a journalist reporting the news. But I did like this bit:-

Also, bear in mind that whatever “evidence” you’re reading on a blog is not all the evidence in the case; you’re being presented with a slice that is intended to persuade you in one direction. If you’ve decided that SCO has no case based on what you’ve read on a blog that is only presenting certain pieces of evidence and holding back others, and adding a spin on top of that, and if you have no idea who is doing the spinning, you may be rushing to judgment.

Thanks for the measuring rod, Dan. How does your blog measure up?

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