Citizen journalism by email 'gossip': Fourth estate?

Should citizen journalism based on simple republication of anonymous, unsubstaniated emails and postings circulated throughout the blogosphere be celebrated?  Why has Mark Cuban reposted an anonymous post plucked from a “list” as the latest installment in his YouTube, Google and the “morons” series?

Should citizen journalism based on simple republication of anonymous, unsubstaniated emails and postings circulated throughout the blogosphere be celebrated? 

Why has Mark Cuban reposted an anonymous post plucked from a “list” as the latest installment in his YouTube, Google and the “morons” series?

Some intimate details on the Google YouTube Deal

I first saw this posted on the Pho List. A media related list that I have participated in for years with lots of smart people with great insights. THe posting, as you will read is fascinating and was originally posted anonymously. I emailed the list asking for permission to post it on my blog. In response, the "anonymous author", who I respect and trust. I cant say this has been fact checked. It hasnt. I cant say its 100 pct accurate, I dont know. But it rings true 

Why did “Jeff” circulate his personal agenda-ridden email with innuendo about YouTube, Google, Apple, Viacom?

Of greater importance, why does such email and posting gossip gain traction? Not only in the blogosphere, but by “mainstream” media as well, including the vaunted “Paper of Record.”

 

I will pass on Cuban, just as I passed on “Jeff.”

 

I received an unsigned email from “Jeff@reifman.org” last Friday, copy below. Upon receipt, I investigated the email by 1) visiting reifman.org and 2) visiting YouTube.

 

What did my investigation yield?

 

1) reifman.org appears to be the personal blog of Jeff Reifman. 

 

The homepage says:

10/29/06 Matt and Trey Want You to Download South Park...
From NewsCloud user aeb1barfo...this is from the FAQ on the official South Park Studios Web Site: Q. - I was surprised that in the last FAQ you recommended downloading episodes on KaZaa and other file sharers. What are Matt and... 

The “about jeff” page bio includes: 
In 2004, Jeff wrote three features for the Seattle Weekly about Microsoft's technology, its corporate practices and about his own socially responsible investing.

In 2005, Jeff launched CommonBits and CommonTimes which later merged in to the progressive news network NewsCloud. 

2) YouTube continues to host Comedy Central clips, as I reported Sunday in “Online video game: ‘technically illegal’ musical chairs.”

What did I conclude? Nothing. Perhaps some videos were removed for some reason at the request of someone, but no wholesale Comedy Central purge can be confirmed and the validity and motives of the “source” email itself are questionable.

When many in the blogosphere headlined stories off of the “Jeff” email, I attributed the unsubstantiated frenzy to blogging zeal. When I read the New York Times sign-off on the unsubstantiated story yesterday and heard another unsubstantiated take courtesy of the NBC Universal CNBC “On The Money” financial show, however, it raised doubts in my mind about the reliability of any “news” reported, anywhere.

Below is an excerpt of the New York Times (NYT) "YouTube is Purging Copyrighted Clips" story and the “Jeff” email in its entirety.

Of note, even the photo accompanying the NYT story may be misleading. The photo credited to Getty Images appears to be a still shot of a Comedy Central taping but the caption suggests otherwise:

Clips like Jon Stewart, right, of Comedy Central, with Howard Stern are being purged from YouTube in preparation for Google’s purchase of the video-sharing Web site.

NYT

The site late last week began purging copyrighted material from Comedy Central, including clips from YouTube stalwarts like “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” “The Colbert Report” and “South Park.”

The action was “a result of third-party notification by Comedy Central,” according to one such e-mail message sent to a YouTube user, Jeff Reifman, who broke the news on the Web site NewsCloud…

YouTube did not respond to repeated messages left over the weekend. 

“Jeff” e-mail

I received a couple of emails from YouTube this afternoon notifying me that a third party (probably attorneys for Comedy Central) had made a DMCA request to take down Colbert Report and Daily Show clips. If you visit YouTube, all Daily Show, Colbert Report and South Park clips now show "This video has been removed due to terms of use violation."

 

For a long time, Comedy Central has passively allowed the sharing of online clips of its shows—because let's face it, it's helped them generate the kind of water cooler talk that has made them a ton of money. In this Wired Interview , Jon Stewart and Daily Show Executive Producer even encouraged viewers to watch the show on the Internet...

But apparently, all good things come to an end when there is money and attorneys involved. I assume the only online clips that will remain will have to qualify under fair use – probably short clips, with social or political importance. With Google purchasing YouTube, ComedyCentral figured there was now an opportunity aka profit center to target. And they've assumably made these DMCA requests to YouTube. 

So assumably, with less interesting content, YouTube is a lot less interesting now and perhaps not worth the billion dollars Google paid for it – though they knew exactly what they were getting into. It's even possible that Apple or Viacom pushed ComedyCentral to take this step since they earn revenue from the shows.”

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