I have recently disconnected my habit of watching podcasts from a well-known tech podcast source. (Well, it’s well known in the geek world). Not only did I decide to calm down on podcast consumption at the beginning of the year when I was redefining my focus on what was important, but there was one other thing that bothered me about the podcasts and I couldn’t let it go unnoticed.
The host of the podcast made the off-handed comment that the developer of an app that the podcast had negatively reviewed was upset. The host then went on to say that if he knew that the developer was a friend of his, he wouldn’t have been as harsh in his review of the application.
This kinda bothered me.
When a person tunes into the media, whether it be the mainstream news media or the tech media or to some extent, a blogger’s work, one expects that there be honest views expressed through such media, especially if this source is sponsored by ad content from prominent companies. When your tagline contains the phrase “from people you trust”, one would think that you’re telling the truth, right? Admitting during a podcast that you wouldn’t have been as, well, truthful with a critique if you realized that you knew the author of the product that was being critiqued is kind of like saying, “I wouldn’t ask the CEO about the money they laundered because we’re friends.” You’re demonstrating bias with this sort of approach, which is fine if that’s how you advertise yourself and represent your work, but when you use “from people you trust” and then do stuff like that, it carries the same amount of weight as the tagline “Fox News, Fair and Balanced” and then you go finding six ways from Sunday to report that Romney must have won and the election was all wrong due to impossible mathamatics.
While it sounds like I’m picking on this particular podcaster, the truth of the matter is that there’s a lot of garbage out there claiming to be fair and balanced news. I read on a blog that a 747 SLAMMED into a Dash 8 at an airport. Writing colorful words like “slammed” does amazing things for click responses (which in turns, generates lots of ad revenue) but the truth of the matter is, the 747’s wing nicked the wing of the other airplane. There were no injuries, no hysterics and minimal impact to either airplane. It’s hard to find any credibility in a blogger or podcaster that claims to be a news source and then embellishes the truth or modifies their public opinion on a topic due to personal connections.
Fair and balanced indeed.
If news bloggers (as opposed to other kinds of bloggers, such as me. I have no idea what I’m talking about most of the time) want to be considered a credible media outlet, they need to stick to the facts without color, bias or prejudice. If you’re not a news blogger but a commentator, just be true to your comments and state that as such on your blog or podcast. That’s all I ask.