On his CrunchNotes site, TechCrunch impresario Michael Arrington is alleging that industry-gossip site Valleywag.com is looking into the nature of his relationships with the startup Web 2.0 companies he covers on his blog.
Personally, I see nothing wrong with such journalistic inquiries, undertaken by Valleywag or by anybody else. If Arrington has no investment stakes in the companies that he extols — or if he has provided full and proper disclosure regarding the relationships that do exist — he has no reason to worry. No matter how much investigation Valleywag does, it won’t find incriminating evidence of ethical or legal impropriety in Arrington’s business dealings.
What’s more, if it tries to publish something without factual foundation, something that is defamatory and slanderous, Arrington will have legal recourse to seek reparations.
On CrunchNotes, Arrington charges that Valleywag is engaging in “dirt digging.” Isn’t “dirt digging” just a dysphemism for “investigative journalism,” which is what all journalists should be doing?
If you ask me, the technology industry could use a lot more critical reporting and a lot less unquestioning cribbing from press releases.