You Write 'Bias Journalism' And I Read 'Derp'

First of all, you probably mean "biased". Second of all, journalism isn't a term that means "stories you agree with". Third of all, fuck you.

It seems like every so often the comments at Gizmodo fill up with entitled, half-witted thinkers, like a boil taut with ignorance. Even the least pointed opinion by an author ruptures it, leaving us dripping with wet bitterness. It's time to give the commentariat a good lancing.

Let's get to weeping.

You Don't Get To Call Us Unprofessional

There's a reason this came to mind first: This little gambit has really been getting my goat lately.

It goes like this: 1) We put up a post you don't like. 2) Rather than ignoring the post and enjoying a different post - or in the worst case decided you do not enjoy the mix of stories of Gizmodo any longer and going somewhere else - you decide to express your dissatisfaction. 3) You accuse us of being unprofessional, typically without any clear indication by which standards of professionalism we are being judged.

To be fair, you are very stupid. When presented with something that does not match your very rigid preconceptions of what should entertain you this very second, you lash out with the all the weaponry at your disposal, spitting flechettes of feeble cruelty at the slightest provocation. If you could, when presented with your french fries on the left side of the plastic tray and not the obviously superior right side, you would reach across the counter and give the cashier's nipples a hard twist. And then call him unprofessional.

I try to allow for this, especially when presented in the "But you call yourselves journalists!" package. I know that most of the people attempting to define and discard our opinions have the media comprehension ability of an especially contemplative elk. Still, consider this in a scrolling, flashing, graphic set overtop an exploding marching band: "Journalism" is an act, a process, not a role nor a duty. Sometimes, despite all inclination to the contrary, journalism is practised at Gizmodo. Sometimes we summarise or respond to journalistic works of other outlets. And sometimes - most of the time - we're just talking.

There, I've said it. Our secret is out. While most of us blogging at Gizmodo really like electronics, internet culture, and, you know, all the other topics we stuff in between the cracks; and while we think we know a little bit more about these topics than the average person, if only by dint of being steeped in it all day long for years at a time, when we write a review we're not pretending to have come down from on high with the only opinion, the canonical perspective.

Nope. We're just telling you the same thing the same way we'd tell a friend if they asked us about a gadget in a bar. "Hey, should I buy that new thing?" "Eh, not really." "What's the best thing I should buy?" "Buy this one."

I understand why you think every review should have fifteen pages of statistics and never mention any other products or competitors: You're a weird geek. That's OK. I'm pretty geeky about some shit too. You should here me debating the merits of differing 4x4 trucks when really most are as good as another, or hear Matt tell you exactly why one method of coffee extraction is better than another.

But don't forget that you're not the only one that reads this site. And that ultimately, we may just not be geeky enough for you - or geeky in the direction you prefer.

If only there were other sites on the internet that wrote about gadgets and technology.

But what is never, ever an acceptable tactic is trying to knock out our podium from underneath us. For one thing, it's just dumb: The boundaries of what and who and how is or isn't or ain't journalism is endlessly fascinating and very nearly always endlessly useless. And if you're a twerpy little internet chump trying to decide whether to get into a dick-slapping contest on Gizmodo or jerk off to Reddit Gone Wild, you haven't exactly earned the right to ask others to watch you jerk off about the travails of modern media. Especially not when we own the fucking podium.

"Bias" Is a Spectrum and We're All On It

Apple, Google, Microsoft and Sony all make some excellent products. Well, maybe not Sony.

The worst case scenario, the sort of nightmare ideascape that keeps so many of you evil little drips blowing snot bubbles of ire, is that we might actually like a company's products. Or maybe even like a company!

We are not robots. And unless you really are autistic instead of just playing one while standing alone in the corner at a party, neither are you. Brands, products, experiences - they all mix at different points in time with different contexts. And they change.

But saying someone's opinion is invalid because they have an opinion—especially when they've never pretended otherwise - is such a joke. And you know it when you type it. Or maybe you don't. But you will when you grow up.

And for fuck's sake, use the right word. "This is the most bias article..." or "How can you be so bias?" is not proper English, even if you typed your response by strategically drooling on each key.

You Go Personal, You Go Home

So I was raped when I was a kid by a parent and I wrote about it. In case you're wondering: It fucking sucked, but I'm much better, thank you.

But when I got into a scuffle with some commenters last week they decided to take something I'd written about that experience and use it to suggest to Brian Lam that I have anger issues. They were concerned for me, you see. They suggested therapy for my unresolved issues.

I do have anger issues, you dumb, cruel, entitled, tunnel-vision shit eaters. My anger issues are with you, because you are so foul, so unable to use the internet as a thoroughfare for human compassion or - Christ - even just a civil conversation. It's so far beyond your comprehension that perhaps you are rude or simply wrong that you'd dredge up something that has absolutely no bearing on - wait for it - arguments about gadgets.

You Have No Rights

Having written here and on other sites for years, it has been my pleasure and honour to get to know several people in real life and online through interactions in comments. I think it's amazing when you have conversations in the footer of an article that ends up changing your perspective.

But it's still my article. And nothing you can do - be a commenter for years; be civil in the past; even be right - gives you an excuse to be disrespectful or even impolite in the comments of an article or in an email to an editor. I mean, you can be a spurting gash of venom as much as you want. But you can't do that and then expect to get any sort of respect back.

You don't like Gizmodo? You think we're the tabloid dregs of the technology world? That's great. I bet you'd be surprised how many criticisms you have of the site and of various actions with which editors of this site would agree. (We're debating this shit all the time, which is one of the reasons that I actually like working at this tabloid. Until we do something I disagree with, at least.)

But while you're free to have your opinion and rage about it to your heart's content, you aren't free to do it here. There's plenty to criticise about this site from institutional issues right down to individual posts, but presenting those critiques like an arsehole and then gasping when we don't listen to them is so, so weak. And unless you're the sort of twat who, when invited to someone's house to hang out, starts every sentence over a beer with "You fucking suck. (Bias.) Pass the nachos" then you already know that doing the same in the comments or in email is chump behaviour of the first order.

Piece: said. I feel better. Now get out there and prove how miserable and dumb I am with reason, veiled sarcasm, and faux timidity. Those are tactics to which I am not yet inured.


Comments

    You are my hero.

    I clicked on the image hoping to read something witty due to the obviously bad grammar which would presumably be used for more than a springboard into a rant that gave me details about the writer I could live very well not knowing about. This strikes me as more than an overreaction - honestly, anyone who publishes work knows that scathing, unjustified criticism accompanies the job. In all seriousness, though, this would have been better settled with a few deep breaths and maybe a drink.

      I think you missed the point of the article. It was "go away, yes you!".

    lulz

    I love how people think that 'freedom of speech' means they have the right to say anything, anywhere, and write anything, anywhere.

    This article is bias and unprofessional...
    BOOM!

    I read some pretty duschy comments on here that are pretty rude and am always impressed that you guy's still post them.

    Now tell us what you really think Joel. :)
    And come on man Sony still make great MP3 players! I love my Sony Walkman good!
    I mean talk about your biased journalism. :P

    Seriously though this is, in a weird way, why I love and read Gizmodo. In all your articles you come across as real people. People that love technology, gadgets and the culture around them. People that get angry, upset, happy, excited and drunk. You love doing what you do and there is possibly no better thing in the world then loving your job. So (to steal a line) don’t let the bastards grind you down. Keep doing what you’re doing and we will keep reading.

    Wow - someone is really mad.

    I'm surprised this was even allowed to be published; what with all the venomous language used.

    Knowing what the Gizmodo audience like, isn't this a bit childish? How is this post any different from the abusive comments you speak of?

    I would say most professional writers are above doing what you've just done.

    Your last section on we "have no rights" is laughable.

    You're the writer of a post and are entitled to an opinion. If we are allowed to leave comments then we too are entitled to an opinion here. If you don't want our opinion or can't accept our opinion then turn commenting off or moderate them.

    Telling your friends at a bar about the latest gadget doesn't constitute professional journalism to me.

    Whoever is in charge of Gizmodo needs to straighten out with their staff whether they're supposed to be professional journalists or professional bloggers. Going both ways does not work.

    Also, to the man in charge, whoever clicked publish on this post should be severely reprimanded. It's just not acceptable to spew hateful abuse at your readers (even if some of them deserve it).

      Well said, saves me having to type it but utterly agree..

      Could not agree more. If Giz had any integrity they'd suspend Joel Johnson from writing for this website for a long time. In no other job would a diatribe like this be acceptable.

      Geez, I wont get into any long argument, but simply say Im schocked to read such an outburst from an official site towards it's readers.

    I really enjoy Gizmodo, I enjoy a good portion of the media. I like that sometimes you don't find completely tech related articles, I like it's free and I don't mind the advertisements.
    Please keep doing what you do.

    I agree totally tech buff fanboys can be a anal bunch in general most of the time... and most a retarded in general so amen brother

    'journalism isn’t a term that means “stories you agree with”'

    that was worth the whole article

    Well said. I frequent this site regularly and rarely comment because of the ignorance to others' ideas that is displayed within comments.

    Whilst I'm sure many would flame this article, it still needed to be said.

    Fantastic article.
    Sick of the endless number of comments that add no value and only trash the author. Reading this makes me feel like Gizmodo is more like a friend; a friend that I just happen to ask everyday about whats happened in the tech world lately...

    I'm a journo for one of the two daily newspapers in Melbourne. We get the same sort of criticisms all the time.

    But we never get to vent our spleen about it in the pages of the paper - and nor should we, because it's childish and it's unprofessional.

    I cannot believe you took the time to write this nonsense in the sadly mistaken belief that anyone anywhere - besides you - gives a toss.

    Come work in my newsroom - you wouldn't last 30 seconds. Pathetic, really pathetic.

      Thanks Adam for confirming what I suspected. The difference between tech blogs (in spite of their reasonably high quality and obvious mass appeal) and professional journalism is the integrity and respect lost by posts like these.

      Don't feed the trolls guys, whether what you do is considered professional or journalism is irrelevant. At least now we all know where you stand, including your advertisers.

      This is a blog. They can write what they like. You lost your sh*t about it and call him pathetic.

    Ventmodo! Loves it! Although I see why this was done as a post as opposed to a personal email sent to each and every antagonist. I imagine it would be difficult to get this message across to every person or commenter that you have an issue with, but please realise that in 6 months to a year, this article will be entirely forgotten and you will no doubt have to deal with those type of comments all over again, as would most of the other writers on Gizmodo.

    I think the real issue here is that you felt personally attacked via the comments, and you wanted to address this issue, which is fair enough. But there is such a thing as being the bigger man, rather than posting a "neener-neener" article in order for you to cheaply point out grammatical errors and get the last word in. I hate grammatical errors as much as the next guy, but even I know that going around pointing them out makes a person look like an elitist snob.

    Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed this article, but by writing it, you have shifted the attention away from ignorant and inconsiderate posters, back onto you, and onto your traumatic experience, which will probably be the only thing that readers (at least those who weren't aware of this incident) will focus on.

    If you really want to get through to these people, the best approach would be by trying to inform them. Apart from that, there is not a lot you can do to control people's actions or thoughts, much like they can't control yours. All you can really do is try to be a considerate human being.

    Heh, at least it spurred my own rant :)

    Posting a big Everything Nothing on the front page really wont help your situation.

    If a chorus of people are telling you you're biased or have not journalistic integrity, maybe its worth re-examining your articles.

    Or just keep doing what you're doing. People either read or they dont.

    either way arguing on the internet just makes everyone involved look retarded

    Great piece!!!

    Too many people out there with no brains or ability making it hard for those who do want to achieve something with their lives.

    Wow that headline was powerful. Didn't read much more but going by the comments it's pretty exciting. I do however love Giz. Yey for life. :)

    The tldr to this reads....

    ....derp

    Looks like someone picked the wrong week to give up glue sniffing. Presumably this maybe the camel's back for yesterdays diatribe which Gismodo passed off as a review for the Galaxy Tab.
    Consider this. You are considering buying a station wagon. To find out whether it's for you or not you read a motoring review;
    "Cars are great. Station wagons are like the foetuses of Kombi vans swimming in the run-off of a Chernobyl car factory."
    What would you think of the journalist? Unprofessional perhaps?

    Do not let the vocal minority get to you. Load up your web stats and compare page views to comments, all of the lurkers think you're doing a great job. xx

    I thought you of all people would know not to feed the trolls

    I don't have a problem with Gizmodo liking certain companies' products, but I really hate it when the article titles are misleading.

    Such as the recent one about the Qantas A380 jet engine that exploded. The title of the article could not be interpreted any other way than that the article contained a video showing the engine exploding, but the video did not show the engine exploding, or even any fire or breaking up of the wing.

    Opinions are fine, but you must be honest or you'll lose readers, IMHO.

    You sir, are brilliant, and if ever in the course of my bloggin career anyone ever says something like that shit to me, which they have before, I'm just going to post this in reply.

    Fuck 'em. Write whatever the hell you want, and enjoy the hell out of doing so - but, remember - just as you are entitled to your opinion, so too are they entitled to theirs.

    Even if they are pond scum :) .. no, wait, thats probably insulting to pond scum.

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