There’s been a lot of rah-rah’ing the past couple of days about how the FTC is going to start keep their eye on bloggers to make sure that we aren’t doing anything dishonest and misleading to our readers. The funny part about this is that myself, Sean P. Aune and Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins talked about this very thing a month ago. Not to mention the fact that Mark (as well as Brian Solis) wrote some posts examining this move by the FTC – so where have the rest of you hotshots been?
The not so funny part about all this is the fact that the majority of bloggers seem to be falling over themselves about how even though it’s a bad idea we probably need something like this. My question is – when did you bunch lose all your balls?
Did we suddenly lose all our cognitive abilities to be able to tell what is right and what is wrong?
Did our readers suddenly regress to an age where they need their hands held as each word is read to them?
Everyone likes to point the finger of godliness to the old media industry and their advertising Chinese Wall as if they are some shining example of the proper way to do thing. Except they don’t have the FTC breathing down their necks to make sure that they disclosing everything. No, they get to be self-regulating in how they behave when it comes to things like ‘freebees’ and sponsored advertising. I guess that’s because they are the grownups here eh. Which means it’s okay for them to get cozy with big pharma eh.
Yet us folks in the blogosphere are obviously crooked as hell and need to be kept an eye on, right. After all this is what the AP and some of the other big name news organizations think about us, isn’t it. We’re just a bunch of goofballs with no morals or ethics who don’t think enough of our readership (which in some cases is probably more loyal than most newspaper readership) to be honest with them about what we are doing or what we are writing about.
However I’m big on being fair so I tell you what. If blogs are going to be under the FTC microscope when it comes to disclosures and ethics then I think it is only fair that the old media news and magazine business do the same thing.
Can you just imagine the moral outrage that would pour out of The New York Times, the Washington Post, or the Wall Street Journal if suddenly they had to start reporting to the FTC – or following FTC regulations? Guaranteed you would think that the world was coming to an end by all the editorials that would come flooding out.
So tell me, if it is okay for old media to regulate itself why can’t bloggers?