Especially when you don't have a leg to stand on.
As many of you know, I have a position at Pajamas Media as the Blogger Relations Representative, so, occasionally I have a chance to answer the phone in their offices. Such was the case today when John Aravosis of AMERICAblog saw fit to give Pajamas Media a call asking the editors to stop linking to his self-described lefty blog (and other blogs with a similar political bent) in a certain manner: by excerpting a particularly provocative and/or well-written portion of a post and attributing it to the author at the top. Pajamas Media has been doing this since its inception, giving its signed bloggers priority but not limiting itself to them or even to a set point of view. The fact that PJM would link to Aravosis (post since removed)--who is somewhere left of the Daily Kos--should make that obvious.
Anyway, when Aravosis explained his problem to me, I said that we would never link to anything of his again and that if he would give me a list of the other blogs who had this same problem, that I would also put them on our no-post list. That wasn't good enough for Aravosis, however. After he ...um...unhelpfully informed me that he was a lawyer, he asked to talk to someone who presumably had more power in the formidable Reich Wing edifice that is Pajamas Media than does your humble (hah!) servant. Since no one else was available, I tried to get Aravosis' number and email, but he was more in a mood to demand things rather than to facilitate reasonable "communication." For instance, though he had spoken in virtually one long run-on sentence during the entire conversation, he demanded that I "stop talking for a minute" so that he could continue the run-on. I complied by hanging up on him. That probably won't go down in the annals of great blogger relations techniques, but it was done in lieu of me going all South-Central LA on the good counselor.
I happen to know that Roger and Charles are trying to feature a variety of opinion at PJM, regardless of whether they agree with it or not. So, basically, when Aravosis complains about the PJM link, he's complaining that Pajamas Media is giving his opinion a fair shake.
No good deed and all that.
Under the less-infuriating and more-entertaining heading fall some of the comments to Aravosis' lament of PJM's "sleazy and illegal" :::snort::: link to his post.
Q. How does the right wing spell "research"?Yes, sure. When you excerpt someone's post and give them credit for their words, it's "plagiarism."
They did this to a whole bunch of other people, including Matt Yglesias, Steve Gilliard, Jeralyn at TalkLeft, me, people from TNR and Slate, and a film critic from Die Welt (and that's just in the last few days.) I wrote yesterday asking them to change it; no response yet.Sure, PJM is out to "do something" to leftist bloggers--not to mention poor, defenseless German publications--by linking to them.
And this one needs no commentary:
How are they getting the content? Is it your RSS feed?The moral of the story is: some folks will look for reasons to threaten lawsuits--no matter how ridiculous the grounds--especially when they believe they are being made to look bad in front of their adoring public. The second moral of the story is: don't try to bum-rush someone over the phone.
By the way, John, don't call me anymore.
UPDATE: Who says that the Left and the Right can't get along? Though they have opposing view points on Pajamas Media's linking methods, Hilzoy of Obsidian Wings and Jeralyn Merritt of Talk Left have handled the situation in a very classy manner. Thanks, ladies.