Thursday, July 29, 2010

Got Google?

Knoxville News Sentinel Editor-in-Chief Jack McElroy has accused me of ripping an entire story from the paper, even though I didn't quote the entire story and I did link to the original story in the KNS. Why might McElroy do that? I suppose it was because my short commentary accompanying the quotes about a controversy in Anderson County got better Google placement than the story in the paper did:

In response to McElroy's complaint, which I truly believe to be baseless, I have taken action in good faith, however. I've shortened the quote I used in my commentary, even though without reading the article I am writing at this moment, a casual reader just surfing in may not understand the gravity of the situation since I made that revision. I also made it a point to mention News Sentinel reporter Bob Fowler by name so that McElroy cannot accuse me of not giving Fowler credit, despite my direct link to his story. I also now mention the paper by name-as if anyone who clicks the link can't figure out that the quote comes from the KNS-nevermind the reality that I quote the News Sentinel by name all the time, of course, giving them mountains of free internet publicity and hits to their website.

I have no control over whether my commentary on The Examiner has better search engine optimization. Believe it or not, I don't write anything or post content with search engine optimization in mind, I really believe that people will read me because they want to. If I get top billing on Google, that's great-but I am not aiming for it on purpose. Jack McElroy is, apparently, and he's upset because at one moment in time I got more hits than the News Sentinel. What is even more bizarre is that in posting about my supposedly "ripping" an article, thus encouraging me to respond to defend myself, he has likely stirred up a tempest that will invite even more people to come and read me and less to read his newspaper via the internet.

Instead of approaching me privately with his concerns (my e-mail is readily available), McElroy chose to publicly defame me, which tells me this was his intent all along. Jack McElroy never objected in 2007 when I "covered the coverage" of Knoxville News Sentinel v. Knox County Commission, one has to guess because most of my posts in those days and the quotes from the paper that were used mostly painted the paper in a more positive light-as was deserved at the time. I've been blogging and writing on East Tennessee politics for over five years and not once have I received any allegation or complaint about "ripping" a story. No, this complaint comes coincidentally when I make a decision to ramp up my political activities in East Tennessee, and I happen to be a known critic of the editorial board of the Knoxville News Sentinel.

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