Something has been bugging for the past week or so and that is the recent recklessness of film blogs. In an effort to be first with the latest news, respectable journalists have played fast and loose with the facts, specifically in their blogging about Sundance this year. A few examples:
— A couple of days into the festival, amidst the buying frenzy, David Poland reported on his closely-followed Hot Blog, “Sony Classics buys Weapons, in spite of a lot of negative response to the film.” I immediately checked with SPC execs who quickly disputed the news, and days later a company head was still grumbling about the rumor, speculating that it was a reckless post generated after a leak from someone trying to generate sales buzz for the film.
— Hours before the announcement of the Sundance awards, must-read writer David Carr posted a rumor on his Carpetbagger blog, saying that “Grace Is Gone” had won the festival jury prize and citing a “well-placed source.” Just as in the previous situation, the source was wrong, even so the NY Times touted the scoop on the front page of its website for hours! (See James Israel’s framegrab and the Bagger’s subsequent apology).
— Surprisingly, veteran writer Anne Thompson went with the NY Times error, but when the news proved to be incorrect, she later deleted the posting rather than correcting the mistake publicly. The problem is that her original posting remains archived on RSS readers and blog search engines. A.J. Schnack expertly sums up the whole situation on a blog post via his excellent site and wonders why the whole debacle hasn’t stirred more reactions.
All of this is a lesson to those of us who appreciate the immediacy of blogs but can easily get caught up in the rush to report the latest news and buzz first. Its also a lesson to those of us who read blogs and trust them as legitimate sources of news and information.