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Michael Arrington and MG Siegler Return to TechCrunch (techcrunch.com)
77 points by ry0ohki on Oct 23, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 51 comments



No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Being generous, this is slightly above despicable behavior. Both Arrington and Siegler left TC because of their involvement in the CrunchFund and the obvious conflicts of interest that arise when you report on companies you invest in. Neither of them have abandoned any duties at CrunchFund.

AOL and TC have blatantly tried to mislead the public by initially dismissing them and then rehiring them after the hoopla has toned down. Furthermore, the only lip service they give to this possible conflict of interests is a pandering platitude designed to shove the issue under the rug. And I guess if you complain you aren't smart enough to tell the difference between a shill and a journalist? [1]

This is deception bordering on fraud, as I have no doubt whatsoever that AOL/TC/Arrington/Siegler will now use this new platform to make more money via the Crunch Fund.

It's sickening to imagine the adults in charge could have ever assumed this would be even close to a good idea.

[1] ("we also believe our readers are smart enough to put these columns into context")

Edit: Am I being too much of a conspiracy theorist to notice this was announced around the same time as the iPad Mini was announced?


> Both Arrington and Siegler left TC because of their involvement in the CrunchFund and the obvious conflicts of interest that arise when you report on companies you invest in

Uhm. Mike wrote about companies he had interest in in TC from the very beginning, with various levels of attention to disclaimers about it.

AOL as the corporate parent in TC is an investor in CrunchFund, so it's not like Mike and Sieglers absence from TC has somehow meant that AOL hasn't had an interest in TC writing favorably about the same companies as the two of them either.

I don't see how this actually materially changes anything. You're free to dislike that. They're free to write. You don't need to pay attention to the,.


Screw you. Mike you are such a troll, screw you. I'm not kidding, screw you, you asshole, screw you. I'm being very serious Mike. I'm infuriated that you would imply that because I had a review unit, that would influence me... screw you... I'm throwing you all off—fuck you guys.

I'm not kidding. I'm done. We're going into reruns.

What a... what a jerk. I've had it with Mike Arrington. He is the most trollish person I've ever worked with.


For people who don't know what this is about: http://techcrunch.com/2009/06/06/ouch/


Leo has a soothing voice that makes even four letter words sound smooth :P


Maybe it's just me but I feel that since Arrington & MG stopped writing, the rhetoric in the startup blogging space has toned down.

While some of my favorite tech posts was written by Arrington and MG, I'm not too excited for their return.


+1, I stopped following them on Twitter, I stopped reading their blogs, and I read less TechCrunch.

Call it strife, call it drama, call it whatever you want, I have much less of it without those two. This is just a reason to avoid TechCrunch now.


I avoid TechCrunch at all costs. I can always find the story somewhere else, and it almost always has more substance than TC's article.


Though neither a critics' nor a public favorite, Spinal Tap continues to fill a much needed void.


That's just terrible. As such TechCrunch is very biased and now you have an Apple salesman on board (MG Seigler). I'm just waiting for someone to tear this organization apart, because what they are doing to Journalism is terribly wrong.

You see, Journalism has advanced to a huge extent in the online world. In the real world, a journalist would have to travel places, arrange interviews, and so forth. It's much much hardwork than 'online journalism'. Organizations like TechCrunch and Gizmodo are basically thieves. They don't have to travel anywhere to get the news, they just 'steal' it from goodwill communities like Hackernews and Reddit and make the titles misleading or 'attractive' so they can get more clicks and add bias to it, insert ads wherever possible, and write articles favoring companies that sponsor them. I can list you so many articles that Gizmodo spins up from Hackernews. Less than 10% of their blogposts are fair and original. The rest are just rip-off from non-profit communities like HN. That is just plain wrong.

TechCrunch has never been afraid of admitting being sponsored by companies, infact, Matt has once admitted that he was sponsored by Apple to write a post favoring their technology over a competitors' based on meaningless grounds.

And Gizmodo, needless to say, are pro-apple, no matter what. What is so bad about these organizations are that they are unfair. They are deceiving people. They spend initially huge amounts of time and effort to build this trust with their audience and they just misuse it by writing unfair articles in favor of companies sponsoring them later. They are killing fair journalism. That is just plain wrong.

These organizations are just a shame to Journalism itself. As a journalist, your duty is to report the news as it is, not what you think of the news. No one gives a fuck to what you think of the news. We all have our own opinions, right? Especially infront of a huge audience, there is a moral obligation to be honest, unbiased. You will never find such ethics with TechCrunch or Gizmodo. For example, recently on Gizmodo, you will find pro-Apple articles suggesting comparisons between every single device on this planet concluding Apple is superior in all aspects, but, never any of its disadvantages. iOS was hacked recently (Security hole). When was the last time you read that on TechCrunch or Gizmodo? You didn't, because they didn't write it. Why didn' they write it?

That is why I am not a fan of MG Seigler or Jesus Diaz or anyone else from these shady organizations. They are just a shame to the Journalism community and they share our knowledge and profit out of it by wrong means. They think they are intelligent, but an average HN reader has more knowledge about tech than these biased, paid writers.

I hope TC falls off soon.


> These organizations are just a shame to Journalism itself. As a journalist, your duty is to report the news as it is, not what you think of the news. No one gives a fuck to what you think of the news. We all have our own opinions, right? Especially infront of a huge audience, there is a moral obligation to be honest, unbiased. You will never find such ethics with TechCrunch or Gizmodo.

As a former print journalist, I will just say that what is "just the news" and what is "honest, unbiased" has a coincidentally strong correlation with the reader's personal biases.

Case in point, you seem to have selection bias:

> For example, recently on Gizmodo, you will find pro-Apple articles suggesting comparisons between every single device on this planet concluding Apple is superior in all aspects, but, never any of its disadvantages. iOS was hacked recently (Security hole). When was the last time you read that on TechCrunch or Gizmodo? You didn't, because they didn't write it. Why didn' they write it?

Doing a quick Google search of "Gizmodo" and "Apple", I find quite a few negative-Apple stories. Of the top of my head, I remember that Gizmodo was the publication that leaked the iPhone4 prototype and pushed the Antennagate story hard...not exactly stories that a pro-Apple publication would pursue.


Sadly, I don't think TC is going anywhere. There's two types of new journalism that have come out of the technology boom and the Internet, and only one of them is worth while. Guess which type TC is...

The first type is the good type: the LA Times is a perfect example. Sorry to bring this up, but it is a great example: the Boy Scouts perversion files were released last week: thousands of documents about pedophiles in the Boy Scouts. The LA Times took that data, sorted it, and made it available in a map interface, with searchable text fields and all the documents available behind it. That's the future of journalism: reporting plus data analysis and presentation.

TC, on the other hand, is the bad type of new journalism. This is the type where the only thing that matters is timing, not accuracy. In the online world, most news outlets fall into this category. They don't care about facts or the people they're reporting on, all they care about is having the story first, even if only by a few seconds.

Engadget has a guy that is the World record holder for world's fastest blogger. They're really proud of this. I think it's actually a horrible shame and missing the point.

Anyway, people read the second type of journalism a lot more than the first. And that really sucks.

The easiest way to spot a real journalist is if he's on the phone. Real reporters spend all day on the phone talking to people, not on the web reading blogs and emails. I doubt TC ever picks up the phone to call anyone, except to return calls of the "WTF did you write" variety.


>The LA Times took that data, sorted it, and made it available in a map interface, with searchable text fields and all the documents available behind it. That's the future of journalism: reporting plus data analysis and presentation.

Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/boyscouts/


You're missing the bigger issue. Siegler and Arrington have not left their positions at CrunchFund (where they invest in the companies they report on)- the main reason they left in the first place. Such journalistic conflicts of interest are not ethical or accepted within the Journalism/Tech industry.

AOL has simply waited for the uproar to die down to restate Arrington/Siegler... insulting, frankly.


Its a show obviously. Picking a fight is one of the most basic marketing tricks but I applaud them for pulling it off in such a smooth manner. Even Steve Jobs badmouthed Android for marketing purposes.


I don't see your point. They're returning as columnists, not full-time writers neither managers. If they state clearly their investments and don't talk about them in TC, I don't see why wouldn't that be OK (independently of your opinions about their writing). Their opinion and thinking can be valuable for other topics.


Because like it or not, Siegler and Arrington are irreparably and intimately tied to TechCrunch.

Do you honestly expect Average Joe to go to a TC article written by Arrington (aka the Founder of TC) and not associate him with TC? Not conflate his opinions with TC?

I don't care what they preface their columns with... there's nothing they can do to avoid people associating their opinions and positions with TC, even subconsciously. Even as independents over the past couple months people still associate what they say with TC.

Of course, AOL knows this perfectly well and went ahead anyway.


>they just 'steal' it from goodwill communities like Hackernews and Reddit

Reddit sells ads and subscriptions. And I don't see how you can "steal" from aggregators who just link to content other people have created.


I suppose one could argue that "Hackernews" in this case represents the HN users' insights (in the comments) and also the blogs/bloggers whose only aggregator submission destination is HN (making them in a sense entangled with the "HN community" at large).


If TC is journalism, then so is CRM Today or Auto Dealer News. They're just an industry rag like any other that reports whatever comes over the wire, only with a little more wit.


Looks like someone is a bitter Android and PC user.


I'm not well versed in the history and context of TechCrunch or CrunchFund, but isn't the very notion of a startup investor writing (supposedly unbiased) columns about startup news an incredible conflict of interest? Am I missing something?


FTA:

Are they conflicted? Yeah, of course they are, and we will be transparent on that issue at all times. But, we also believe our readers are smart enough to put these columns into context and understand the impact of CrunchFund’s investing on the editorial.


>But, we also believe our readers are smart enough to put these columns into context and understand the impact of CrunchFund’s investing on the editorial.

That's like soda companies saying that their consumers are smart enough to recognize that the sugar content in their drinks can have adverse effects on their health (without mentioning neither their tremendous and ubiquitous marketing efforts, nor the way their drinks are chemically designed to cause overconsumption)


Yes, they're saying, "assume we're biased."


No, they're saying, "assume we're biased."


Ridiculous. While I thank you for the confidence, only someone extremely ignorant would believe that they could predict, let alone understand the complexities and resultant ramifications.

Perhaps I could superficially understand that there is a conflict, but that's about it.


That is why they left.

However given an investing role, you hear about things that you could not otherwise, and get to break stories.


Welcome back Mike and MG. I’m sure this move will go smoothly and will never come back to bite me.

No, not you, Jay Kirsch. Just the rest of us.


They're both TOXIC. I was so glad when these two departed & the rest of their ilk self-exiled to Pando Daily (Sarah Lacy & Paul Carr, to be specific). & now that ! SIGH


The problem is these guys themselves think they are awesome. They are not. Case in point: they came back to TechCrunch because they were failures without it.

These guys are really bad for the startup ecosystem because they are not intellectual and move the focus from the story/startup to themselves.


Techcrunch and other sites have become irrelevant for me. Reddit and hacker news actually serve as a much better, much more informed news/link filter. There is nothing the tech blogs do that I don't get on these two sites.


When MG and Arrington distanced themselves from pandodaily it felt like they kept moving closer towards techcrunch. Now this certainly solidifies it.

I'm not sure what to make of the news to be quite honest. All that drama...much ado about nothing?


Arrington is fine. But MG? Really? Online journalism is getting Honey Boo Booed.


This is hardly front page worthy hacker news.


Michael Arrington returns to Techcrunch, and with pretty high correlation, "this isn't hacker news" comments return to HN.


Because it isn't. Who writes for TechCrunch is not front page worthy news.

EDIT: There always seems to be some air of schoolboy drama surrounding TechCrunch.

For example:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pda/2011/sep/15/techcrunch-a...

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505124_162-43452680/techcrunch-d...

And I'm sure that this news will spur some, too. Who cares?


But what Arrington is up to is worth noting.

Regardless of anyone's opinion of him, he's been a big factor in shaping the startup press world.


I'm more amazed it's still trendy for geeks to hate on the people in tech media. Though that would have passed on like platform shoes and bell bottoms by now.


Not hating on all the people in tech media. I'm hating on two specific people in tech media. Two people who, in my experience reading their material, are biased and their opinions shouldn't hold as much weight as they do.

Do you really think that it is okay that they are allowed to be in journalism in an area where they both have financial stake in companies they report on?


Two people who, in my experience reading their material, are biased and their opinions shouldn't hold as much weight as they do.

Everyone's biased. Read any political editorial. They are clear with their biases. There's a slant to everything you have a personal investment in (whether financial or just sheer interest in the topic). Truly objective journalism is very rare nowadays. An ersatz veneer of objectivity is common but that's more insidious, IMHO.

Do you really think that it is okay that they are allowed to be in journalism in an area where they both have financial stake in companies they report on?

If they disclose it, yes. Journalism is no sacred cow. It's as scummy and scabby as any industry. The fact they disclose their conflicts of interest puts them above any journalist who has been taken for dinner or drinks by a PR flack or big company or flown out on a press junket (pathetically common, rarely disclosed to readers).


It's good to know that I need to get my guard up higher, as his return may up the ante on not only TechCrunch's reporting style, but also those of its competitors as well.


It clearly is, hn is about startups and tech, and that's exactly what MA writes about, he's a character in the SV world, just like CEO's of companies and 'star' programmers (Torvalds et al)

hn is as much about the personalities as it is the products and companies.


I really don't think the return of two seriously biased writers to an already biased media company is important. Sorry.


If Michael Arrington returning to TechCrunch isn't HN-worthy news, I don't know what is!


Given that (IMO, rather unfortunately) Techcrunch stories are posted and upvoted to the front page on a daily basis, this is also front page worthy.


I don't care, this is friggin' hilarious. I can't believe we're dealing with adults.


Vote me down, but WTF?


So what? Tech startup journalism is barely even related to Journalism with a capital J. Why should a glorified press release network be held to the same code of ethics? It shouldn't.

You should read non-technical tech blogs through the same lens as you read the magazines in the grocery checkout. Could you ever take seriously a complaint against People about a conflict of interest? I hope not.


Kevin Rose returns to Digg!

* crickets *

Commander Taco returns to Slashdot!

* more crickets *

There are some things that can't be undone.


sudo vim /etc/hosts

127.0.0.1 techcrunch.com




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