How the Media Bloggers Association Got Involved

As I spend the morning reading stories about myself, a highly pleasurable activity that makes Rogers Cadenhead want to start referring to Rogers Cadenhead in the third person like Bob Dole, I have one question: Why is the Media Bloggers Association getting its ass kicked all over the Internet for attempting to have a dialogue with AP about the Drudge Retort's DMCA takedown dispute?

On Daily Kos yesterday, Markos Moulitsas wrote about the association with his typical subdued restraint:

The dumbasses at the Media Bloggers Association, of course, are walking right into that meeting because they crave nothing more than creating the impression that they, you know, represent bloggers (they don't). But anyone with an inkling of understanding of the law and principles at stake would know that the AP has no ground to stand on, and anything negotiated between them and the MBA will be ignored by the vast majority of bloggers anyway. If people haven't noticed, we're not the type of people that lets others do the talking for us. We do our own thing. ...

I will copy and paste as many words as I feel necessary to make my points and that I feel are within bounds of copyright law (and remember, I've got a JD and specialized in media law, so I know the rules pretty well).

There's a lot of misinformation out there about how the association got involved, primarily from people who'd like to know who the hell died and made them king of the blogosphere. The answer is simple: I asked 'em for help. Before any of the press took an interest in my situation, MBA director Robert Cox reached out to AP to see how the dispute could be resolved. Although the media has made a Thursday meeting with AP sound like some kind of blogger/media peace summit, the association's role is less grandiose.

I didn't know Cox prior to last Thursday, but I've since gotten a quick education in what the MBA does. He hears from 5-10 bloggers a week who face legal challenges, some quite desperate because of lawsuits filed against them. Most of these bloggers don't become a cause célèbre that draws media attention, so Cox is an enormously helpful person to know. Bloggers are facing legal challenges and lawsuits far more often than people realize, particularly from three groups: pharmaceutical companies, real estate developers and local government officials.

The Media Bloggers Association doesn't speak for "all bloggers" any more than the ACLU spoke for all jerkweeds when it represented the neo-Nazi paraders in the Skokie case. But I'm glad to find a group that can speak directly to the big issue here, which is the free speech right inherent in what bloggers have been doing on the Retort and thousands of sites like it around the web.


"Why is ..."

Because to the fight-to-the-last-drop-of-someone-ELSE'S-blood crowd, the only acceptable response would be to proclaim you are a blogger and thus are a citizen-journalist empowered by the full force of the First Amendment to tell that antediluvian MSM that it must immediately convert to the business model of attention-monetization like bloggers, and so should be kissing the ... feet ... of A-list bloggers who are the masters of the fabled New Attention Economy.

Bloggers-vs-journalists is favorite storyline of those types. And so they've run with it.

I blogged with some reasons why the Media Bloggers Association don't get no respect, plus one ver-r-r-y interesting link I found on its site:
Media Blahblah Association

So what exactly can one do? I mean if you quote them, link to them, what else is there?

"Although the media has made a Thursday meeting with AP sound like some kind of blogger/media peace summit, the association's role is less grandiose."

Bzzz.... wrong:

It's AP that has used MBA for its propaganda purposes, not the media or other bloggers.

MBA has by now had plenty of time to distance itself from the AP propaganda and the alleged manipulation of the facts initiated by AP, but it even repeats the same crap on their own site. So either it's true or MBA would love it to be true, either way, you should be running in the opposite direction. They're screwing you over. You asked them for help, which means they should be talking to AP exclusively on your behalf, if there had been anything to talk about, which I doubt. Instead they've made themselves the center of attention by playing along with AP's game, pretending there actually is some bigger issue to negotiate about.

MBA's actions are profoundly unethical, and any comparison to the ACLU is a joke and an insult.

One thing I've learned, from having been in a couple of big press/blog stories before, is that you very quickly lose all control of the message. AP can't even control the message, and it's one of the largest media companies on the planet.

Robert Cox and I have both tried to rein in some of the reports about the role of the Media Bloggers Association and its non-desire to rule over bloggers with a merciless iron fist. I've posted comments on Daily Kos, Boing Boing, TechCrunch and Teresa Nielsen Hayden's blog towards this end. But it's mostly pointless. The story's taken on a life of its own, and the bloggers and reporters who care enough to dig into all of the facts are a rare breed who should be identified, celebrated and cloned.

Hello Rogers you dummy. You didn't realize that the only employee at the MBA is a guy who posted and continues to post at an ultra-right wingnut blog called "Olbermann Watch"? With friends like these...?

I agree that it was the media that passively ascribed this role of "authority" to the MBA. However, the MBA might have helped the situation by loudly proclaiming that "We don't represent all bloggers, but...", not merely reiterating the story about how they became involved after the fact, which seems to be their defense tactic.

Independent bloggers aren't upset that one blogger sought help from a resourceful and knowledgeable entity like MBA and got it, they're upset because the MBA didn't participate more aggressively in the clarification that they could only speak for the cases in which they themselves were involved. And that just came off as an apparent credibility power grab.


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