TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington believes he and his publication are getting a raw deal from the mainstream business and news media. He says, among other things, that the mainstream news media don’t understand the nature of TechCrunch, which he describes as follows:
TechCrunch is different. TechCrunch is all about insider information and conflicts of interest. The only way I get access to the information I do is because these entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are my friends. I genuinely like these people and want them to succeed, and they know it and therefore trust me more than they trust traditional press.
I have read TechCrunch, off and on, for more than a year. I appreciate the coverage it provides, but I feel sometimes that Arrington and his crew become shills for companies in which they have a financial interest. What makes TechCrunch different also makes it open to question and reproach.
It doesn’t strive for objectivity, which Matthew Ingram rightly notes is unattainable, but I have found that it also struggles for balance and perspective, which are critical ingredients of good critical commentary. TechCrunch is pumping up what passes for a Web 2.0 bubble, and it does so with neither apology nor restraint.
Mark Evans writes: "If you don’t like what TechCrunch or Arrington are doing, don’t read it."
That’s fair comment, but I think we also have the right to hold Arrington to account and to question whether he is continuing to provide quality and value to readers.
A thin line separates what Arrington does from the paid news-flavored advertising supplements that are distributed inside or alongside daily newspapers. Those neither have nor warrant credibility as news sources, and Arrington will have to take care to ensure that his online publication doesn’t cross over into that territory.