comScore

Michael Arrington Vs. David Carr: Aol rebel declares Twitter war on NYTimes media critic

Michael Arrington vs. David Carr Twitter Fight

Michael Arrington vs. David Carr Twitter Fight

Michael Arrington is really pissed at David Carr, and he's venting his spleen on Twitter.

Tech magnate Arrington is beefing with the New York Times media critic because Carr deigned to write a critical column about Arrington's decision to abdicate his journalistic role to pursue a career as an investor in the very companies he used to cover--a conflict of interests anathema to old school journos like Carr.

It got to the point that Arrington threatened to go nuclear on the Gray Lady:

The saddest part about the NYT drama is that I hold the nuclear card. They know it, and they know I won't use it. Unless I do.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

[jump]
Here's the Tweet/article that started it all:

My take on Arrington/AOL's decision to cash in on an important journalistic brand. http://t.co/zmJc6tdless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply


This snippet of text should give you a flavor for the overall tone of the piece, which pulled no punches in questioning the implications of Arrington's decision (read the whole thing here):

TechCrunch is capable of tearing the limbs off a baby company, but it's been a generally nurturing place for start-ups when Mr. Arrington has skin in the game. On April 1, he invested in Supyo, a video-chat start-up created by Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, the pair who changed the world with Napster.

Fourteen days later, M G Siegler, one of the TechCrunch's highly regarded writers, wrote: "The new project is nothing if not interesting. Think Chatroulette done right." Mr. Arrington's involvement was duly noted.

On April 4 TechCrunch wrote a generally positive post about Milk, a mobile development lab created by Kevin Rose, one of the co-founders of Digg, the social news site. On April 26, a round of funding closed, which included Mr. Arrington's investment, and his involvement was disclosed at that time in an article about the funding.

On June 30, Mr. Arrington invested in LikeALittle, a location-based flirtation site for young people. On Aug. 1, they got a favorable product announcement along with a video visit to their office in a home in Palo Alto where an employee talked about what an "awesome" workplace it was.

We know these things because Mr. Arrington was mostly transparent about the conflicts. But how many articles about equally interesting competitors did not get written? It is worth wondering.
Arrington seized on inaccuracies in the original story (since corrected), by retweeting another source's Tweets that disputed Carr's characterization of Scoble as a "venture capitalist."

Whoever said that the New York Times is accurate hasn't read this: http://t.co/ibKuBlx They made me a Venture Capitalist today! Heheh.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply


Then Arrington went on the offensive, accusing the New York Times itself of failing to acknowledge conflict of interest because it owns the Red Sox and doesn't mention that fact in every box score:

NY Times refuses to disclose partial ownership of Red Sox when writing about them. I wonder why.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply


Eventually, Arrington resorted to outright taunting, challenging Carr to engage in the Twitter fight:
 

I'm amazed that @carr2n is refusing to acknowledge multiple requests for factual corrections to his story.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

David Carr questioned Michael Arrington in the New York Times

David Carr questioned Michael Arrington in the New York Times


For his part, Carr has been an unwilling participant in the smackdown, trying to correct factual errors while dealing with a tidal wave of Arrington supporters swamping his Twitter.

In my story about TechCrunch, I described @Scobleizer as a VC. Not true. CX here. http://t.co/sWWScyyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

And fwiw, think what @arrington did with TC is amazing. From nothing to market maker in few short years. Just don't like how it ended.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

And curious what disclosure was necessary. Wrote what I thought. What was to disclose?less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply