Why the Internet sucks & always will

The Internet in general and blogs in particular have a tough time with credibility when Rivals’ Auburn site edits incriminating video showing Auburn recruiting violations, or when blogs repeat incorrect material.

Everyone already knows how Rivals.com apparently doesn’t care about editorial integrity. When asked via email for information on editorial standards, a corporate ombudsman or any contact information on corporate editorial policies, Rivals hasn’t responded. Maybe my email went into the junk folder, or maybe Rivals just doesn’t care.

Apparently in the world of Rivals, standards don’t matter. Maintaining the cash cow of access by covering up recruiting violations is more important. This is one reason we will all miss newspapers. For all its problems and bias, at least the New York Times has standards, and tries to live by those standards.

As for blogs, one minor footnote in the Alabama textbook scandal begins in the honest mistake of one of the SEC’s best bloggers, Georgia’s Senator Blutarsky. The good Senator said Alabama’s probation ended Mike Slive’s dream of getting the entire conference off probation. Unfortunately, Arkansas’s track program had already prevented the conference from meeting Slive’s ambitious goal of getting everyone off probation through cleaning up compliance.

It was an honest mistake, and let’s be serious, who really would remember a track team’s probation? (The only reason I remembered it was Slive pointed it out in his SEC Media Days 2008 address.)

However, the honest mistake was gleefully repeated by Joe Cribbs’ Car Wash. I’m sure you will be shocked to know that site is an Auburn blog.

From there, the incorrect information was then repeated on AOL’s Fanhouse by Brian Grummell.

Also as a note, Blutarsky quickly edited his post when provided the information about the Razorback track program. Unfortunately, the honest mistake was repeated by others who were too lazy to fact check; they simply repeated information found on the Internet. Always a recipe for disaster.

And this is what is wrong with the Internet, lazy people with an agenda.

The Internet’s strength is the highly collaborative way readers can serve as an editorial board. Everyone makes errors, and blog readership is often some of the most informed Subject Matter Experts. This can be a very strong editorial board, and works to keep all of us honest through the regular way bloggers are challenged.

However, the Internet exacerbates that old proverb made popular by Charles Spurgeon, “a lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.” And in this case, the error was introduced into public discourse through an honest mistake on a trivial matter. Imagine how much more error gets magnified on major matters!

The Internet provides Alabama’s enemies (like those Auburn blogs) an opportunity to repeat untruths and smears without any semblance of editorial standards (how many of those Auburn blogs linked a federal raid on a Gadsden car dealership with Alabama’s NCAA troubles?). Until someone sues and sets a real precedent, the Internet will be infested with persons spreading falsehoods (like all those Gadsden rumors) without any fear or sense of honor.