IMHO: When you have a staff of a dozen people or more and a seven-figure budget, I think you give up the right to be called a "blog." You're a news organization, just those in the "lamestream media" that bloggers like to complain about. And you should start acting like one.
Engadget editor in chief Josh Topolsky responded directly to Arrington in the comments field of Business Insider, saying (in part):
I haven't heard a shred of substance behind your attacks -- only the vitriol of a man-child who can't control himself. "Immensely unethical"? Explain it.
You don't just get to say whatever you want to whomever you want. That may fly in your bubble, but I live in the real world.
Arrington couldn't stop at shredding Engadget for imaginary crimes against blogmanity, though. He also ripped his new masters a new one, calling AOL "plodding and conservative," as well as "pathetic." (He denies he was referring to AOL with that last jibe, though not very convincingly.)
The folks at Business Insider -- whom I imagine gathering around the computer screen with bowls of popcorn and boxes of Milk Duds, waiting for the next outburst -- theorize this is Arrington's fiendishly clever way of getting AOL to fire him before his three-year sentence is up, while still owing him the millions they promised him when his contract expires.
I don't know Arrington personally, which I count as one of life's small blessings. But judging simply by his writing and his public statements, the man is not stable. This seems more like a personality defect -- a slightly modified version of Tourettes.
TechCrunch started out as a cult of personality, based on Arrington's outsized blogging persona, and it largely remains so. He got popular early by writing with an insider's knowledge about the venture capital industry and being unafraid to foist his opinions unto the world.
But spend enough time shooting from the hip and eventually your gun will get stuck in the holster and you end up blasting off a few toes. At this point, it's a wonder Arrington can even walk. Or maybe he just gets carried around on the backs of TechCrunch interns.
I think this incident, along with the hack that exposed the personal information of more than a million Gawker readers last month, marks a turning point in the brief and tumultuous history of blogging. It's time to drop your childish ways and grow up -- even if that means becoming more "lamestream."
I'm taking a poll: How long do you think it will be before AOL and Arrington part ways? Post your predictions below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article, "The world according to Michael Arrington," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Track the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringeley's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.