Just how open should a blogger be about his/her mistakes?

I don’t want to get dragged into one of the those personal spats that bedog the interweb blogosphere from time to time, but this is worth noting. Tom Watson has got an in court apology from the Daily Mail for an article written for them by top British blogger Iain Dale. How do we know? The Press Release on Tom’s blog. Nothing on Iain’s blog so far. If you do a Google search, Matt’s blog has a good and fair run down of the issue. Second is a post from Iain called: The Silence of “Propah Bloggah” Tom Watson.

UPdate: Iain has finally made his amends on his blog… Better late than never, and he provides interesting context to the story… The commenters over there appear unusually silent though…This not just a blog problem, it’s a classic dilemma of journalists at the pointy end of a story… Sometimes it is too easy to write what you think you know rather than what you actually know. When you start to deconstruct it you see the gaps and begin to realise that what you actually have does not nearly add up to what you thought you had…

It’s like a trick of the light… and when you are at the sharp end of a story that ‘trick’ gets trickier… To that extent I have a great deal more sympathy with Iain than many of his critics on the British left will have.

Technically, Iain has paid his dues. A court appearance by the Daily Mail in his behalf is enough to satisfy the law. There is no compunction for him to publish a mea culpa on his blog. But I have to say it is poor form for us bloggers to preach openness for the political classes when we are unwilling to admit when we actually get things wrong.

At the very least it is ‘old world’ behaviour… Come on Iain, just get it out and over with?

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Um, what’s the surprise? Dale is almost as big a bullsh*tter as your would-be mate Staines is. Of course he’s a hypocritical toad. I mean, seriously, what exactly is news here? That bloggers are as vain, compromised, dishonest and venal as anyone, say, who writes for national newspapers? Indeed, that, qua blogging itself, bloggers may well be markedly more prone to all of those sins than the general run of humanity? Go figger. It’s a well-known fact that the only honest people on the internet are, ahem, bitter, bile-spewing, grudge-working anonymous posters. We, after all, leave *our* egos behind at the submit box . . .

  • Mick Fealty

    I could not possibly comment ;-)…

    Iain’s made a repeated point over the last few months of the necessity for apology on the blog. This is a serious error of judgement for a guy who is not just another blogger, but a respected commentator on the British political scene.

    But I am not sure that ignoring, ala Gordon Brown, is the best strategy for him. It would incredibly stupid to demand we ‘all’ keep to high ethical standards, but as I say above. It should be noted and logged, if necessary for future reference.

    As an after thought, the power of the Daily Telegraph’s journalism (and despite the cheque involved this was real hard traditional journalist sweat) is in the revelation. Having taken a hammering from Guido (my mate Paul), they proved conclusively that newspapers can do some things that bloggers cannot.

    The case some bloggers make often at the expense of the mainstream is that ‘accountability’ is what they are all about.