Space Ramblings

The Michelle Madigan Story Blows Up

It started out by being covered by tech news outlets such as ZDnet and The Register, shot up the Google News rankings and now the Michelle Madigan Defcon Dateline NBC disaster has officially blown up as major media outlets are now covering the story. It is yet another demonstration of the increasing leverage of non-traditional media against traditional mainstream media. Dateline NBC saw Defcon as a helpless punching bag for their video smear campaign, after all Dateline NBC represented a major American network and these were just a bunch of “weirdos” who could be caricatured and smeared and mocked, much the same way that the media has done to anything they think are different and as has been the practice at Science Fiction conventions and various tech subcultures. And now Dateline NBC, a show no one likes anyway, is getting their own fed back to them.

Now mainstream media outlets have picked up the story (after all it can get them moved up Google News) and are fumbling with the coverage in the usual patronizing mainstream media way. Take a look at this paragraph from the Forbes coverage.

The crowd, usually a friendly group despite some vampirish clothes and complexions, wasn’t pleased. As a few chanted “burn the witch,”

What are “vampirish clothes” anyway? Did they wear lace ruffles and cravats? Or did they dress as Angel or Spike?

Dead Addict, a lanky 34-year-old dressed in all black and a bowler hat, points out that he began using the Internet in the early ’90s, even before the advent of Internet service providers.

Who knew vampires wore bowlers? The bowler fashion is more steampunk than vampirish. Though I suppose if there were any actual vampires in the 18th century they would have worn bowlers but so did plenty of non-vampires.

And then there’s the Times.

An NBC reporter dicovered what it was like to be pursued by the ‘geek paparazzi’ after she tried unsuccessfully to go undercover at a hackers conference.

No that’s not a misspelling. The London Times can’t spell discovered. And great “geek paparazzi’ line. Not.

CBS did a snarky piece on it on Public Eye that quickly turns to whining.

“Schadenfreude alert! On Friday, a woman identified as Dateline NBC’s Michelle Madigan was outed at Defcon, an “Underground Hackers Convention” taking place in Las Vegas.

That said, those hackers sure are tough to sympathize with, aren’t they? Watch the video if you haven’t yet – the triumphalism on display doesn’t exactly make you want to rally to the hackers’ defense. The whole thing has this “burn the witch!” vibe, in fact, that makes you feel like you’re watching grainy cell-phone footage from Salem, Massachusetts.

Umm yeah. The witches were killed. Madigan was mocked on the way out. Not exactly the same thing. Considering that Dateline NBC regularly does the same thing to people for ratings and has caused the death of at least one man with their hidden camera investigations, I’m not exactly seeing Michelle Madigan as the victim here.

The comments section on the video, somewhat surprisingly, is divided between those cheering the hecklers on and those criticizing them for going after a producer who was just “doing her job.

So basically she was just “following orders”.

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